Application Procedures for Becoming a Permanent Resident While in the United States
If you would like to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States, you must file the following items with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Please review Supplement A to Form I-485 to see if additional fee requirements apply to you.
  • Form G-325A Biographic Data Sheet (Between the ages of 14 and 79)
  • Form I-693 Medical Examination Sheet (not required if you are applying based on continuous residence since before 1972, or if you have had a medical exam based on a fiancé visa)
  • Two color photos taken within 30 days (Please see USCIS Form I-485 for more instructions on photos.)
  • Form I-864 Affidavit of Support (completed by the sponsor). (This requirement may not apply to you if you are adjusting to permanent resident status based on an employment petition.)
  • Form I-765 Authorization for Employment (if seeking employment while case is processed). For more information, see How Do I Get a Work Permit?
  • Evidence of inspection, admission or parole into the United States (Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record). See How Do I Get an Arrival-Departure Record? for more information.
    In addition:
  • If you have already been approved for an immigrant petition , you must submit a copy of the approval notice sent to you by the USCIS.
  • If someone else is or has filed a petition for you that, if approved, will make an immigrant number immediately available to you, you must submit a copy of the completed petition that is being filed for you. Such applications include only immediate relative, special immigrant juvenile or special immigrant military petitions. For more information, please see How Do I Get an Immigrant Visa Number?.
  • If you were admitted into the United States as a fiancé of a U.S. citizen and married that citizen within the required 90 days, you must submit a copy of the fiancé petition approval notice and a copy of your marriage certificate.
  • If you are an asylee or refugee, you must submit a copy of the letter or Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) that shows the date you were granted asylum or refuge in the United States. You also must submit USCIS Form I-643 (Health and Human Services Statistical Data).
  • If you are a Cuban citizen or native, you must use USCIS Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and submit evidence of your citizenship or nationality.
  • If you have been a continuous resident of the United States since before January 1, 1972, you must submit evidence showing that you entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972 and that you have lived in the United States continuously since your entry into the country.
  • If your parent became a lawful permanent resident after you were born, you must submit evidence that your parent has been or will be granted permanent residence. You must also submit a copy of your birth certificate, and proof of your relationship with your parent.
  • If your spouse became a lawful permanent resident after you were married, you must submit evidence that your spouse has been granted permanent residence. You must also submit a copy of your marriage certificate and proof that any previous marriages entered into by you or your spouse were legally terminated.

Please note that there are certain eligibility requirements for using Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). Forms are available by calling 1-800-870-3676, or by submitting a request through our forms by mail system. For further information on filing fees, please see USCIS filing fees, fee waiver request procedures, and the USCIS fee waiver policy memo.

What is an Employment Authorization Document?
U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to prove you may work in the United States.

USCIS issues Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) in the following categories:

  • EAD: This document proves you are allowed to work in the United States.
  • Renewal EAD: You should apply for a renewal EAD six months before your original EAD expires.
  • Replacement EAD: This document replaces a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD. A replacement EAD also replaces an EAD that was issued with incorrect information, such as a misspelled name.
  • Interim EAD: If USCIS does not approve or deny your EAD application within 90 days (within 30 days for an asylum applicant; note: asylum applicants are eligible to file for EADs only after waiting 150 days from the date they filed their properly completed original asylum applications), you may request an interim EAD document.

What Does the Law Say?
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs the admission of all persons to the United States. For the part of the law about Employment Authorization Documents, please see INA § 274A. The Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] discusses the employment authorization responsibilities of both employers and employees at 8 CFR § 274a.

Who is Eligible?

  • The specific categories that require an Employment Authorization Document include (but are not limited to) asylees and asylum seekers;
  • refugees;
  • students seeking particular types of employment;
  • applicants to adjust to permanent residence status;
  • people in or applying for temporary protected status;
  • fiancés of American citizens; and dependents of foreign government officials.

Please see Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) for a complete list of the categories of people who must apply for an Employment Authorization Document to be able to work in the United States.

  • If you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document.
  • If you are a lawful permanent resident or a conditional permanent resident, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your Alien Registration Card proves that you may work in the United States.
  • If you are authorized to work for a specific employer, such as a foreign government, you do not need an Employment Authorization Document. Your passport and your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) proves that you may work in the United States. Please see 8 CFR 274a.12(b), which provides a full list of the categories of people who do not need to apply for an EAD.

How Do I Apply?
You may be eligible to file Form I-765 electronically. Please see our Introduction to E-Filing USCIS Forms for more information. The procedures for forms electronically filed with USCIS are different than described in the following paragraphs. If you are not eligible for electronic filing,you must file an Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) by mail with the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area where you live. Please read the entire application carefully and submit the right documents, photos, and fee. Forms are available by calling 1-800-870-3676, or by submitting a request through our forms by mail system. For further information on filing fees, please see USCIS filing fees, fee waiver request procedures, and the USCIS fee waiver policy memo. Please see our USCIS Field Offices Homepage for more information on USCIS Service Centers.

If USCIS does not approve or deny your Employment Authorization Document application within 90 days (within 30 days for an asylum applicant; note: asylum applicants are eligible to file for EADs only after waiting 150 days from the date they filed their properly completed original asylum applications), you may request an interim Employment Authorization Document. You must go to your local USCIS office and bring with you proof of your identity and any documents that USCIS has sent you about your employment authorization application. Please click here for more information on USCIS field offices.

How Can I Check the Status of My Application?
Please click here for complete instructions on checking the status of your application . Please click here for more information on USCIS field offices.

How Can I Appeal?
If your application for an Employment Authorization Document is denied, you will receive a letter that will tell you why the application was denied. You will not be allowed to appeal a negative decision to a higher authority. However, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the office that made the unfavorable decision. By filing these motions, you may ask the office to reexamine or reconsider their decision. A motion to reopen must state the new facts that are to be provided in the reopened proceeding and must be accompanied by affidavits or other documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must establish that the decision was based on an incorrect application of law or USCIS policy, and further establish that the decision was incorrect based on the evidence in the file at the time the decision was made. For more information, please see How Do I Appeal the Denial of Petition or Application?.

Can Anyone Help Me?
If advice is needed, you may contact the USCIS Office near your home for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to assist you in applying for an immigration benefit. Please see our USCIS field offices home page for more information on contacting USCIS offices.