I485 approved, what next?

Congratulations on your I-485 approval! This means that your application to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States has been approved. Here are the next steps you can expect following this approval:

1. Receiving the Welcome Notice and Green Card

Welcome Notice:

  • Shortly after your I-485 approval, you will receive a “Welcome Notice” (Form I-797C) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This notice confirms your new status as a permanent resident.

Green Card:

  • Within a few weeks after the approval, you should receive your physical green card in the mail. This card serves as proof of your permanent resident status. If you do not receive your green card within 60 days of receiving the welcome notice, you should contact USCIS.

2. Social Security Card

If you did not already have a Social Security number, or if you requested a new Social Security card when you filed your I-485, you should receive your card shortly after your green card arrives. If you do not receive it, you can visit your local Social Security office to apply for one.

3. Employment Authorization

As a green card holder, you are authorized to work in the United States without needing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Your green card itself serves as proof of your eligibility to work.

4. Travel Outside the United States

With your green card, you can travel outside the United States and return without needing a separate travel document, such as an Advance Parole document. However, be mindful of the following:

  • Duration of Absence: Avoid staying outside the United States for extended periods (typically more than six months) without a valid reason, as this could affect your residency status.
  • Re-entry Permit: If you plan to be outside the U.S. for more than one year, apply for a re-entry permit (Form I-131) before you leave to maintain your residency status.

5. Rights and Responsibilities

As a lawful permanent resident, you have certain rights and responsibilities, including:

  • Right to Work: You can work in the United States.
  • Residency: You can live permanently in the United States.
  • Protection under Law: You have protection under all laws of the United States, your state of residence, and local jurisdictions.

However, you also have responsibilities, such as:

  • Paying Taxes: You must file income tax returns and report your income to the IRS and state tax authorities.
  • Selective Service: Male residents aged 18-26 must register with the Selective Service System.

6. Applying for Citizenship

After maintaining permanent resident status for a certain period, you may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization. The general requirements include:

  • Residency Period: Typically, you must be a permanent resident for at least five years (three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
  • Continuous Residence: You must have continuously resided in the United States for the required period.
  • Physical Presence: You must be physically present in the U.S. for at least half of the residency period.
  • Good Moral Character: You must demonstrate good moral character.

7. Maintaining Permanent Resident Status

To maintain your status as a lawful permanent resident:

  • Reside in the U.S.: You should maintain your primary residence in the United States.
  • Avoid Criminal Activity: Certain criminal activities can jeopardize your residency status.
  • Renew Green Card: Green cards are typically valid for 10 years. Make sure to renew your green card before it expires.

For detailed information, you can refer to the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities as a new permanent resident. Here are some useful links: