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Saturday
Nov042017

Proceeding with Caution on the Current Version of the I-485

On June 26, 2017, USCIS released a new version of the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.   This version of the form asks new questions that weren't on the previous version under Part 8 - General Eligibility and Inadmissibility Grounds.  

When answering these questions, it is essential for an applicant to make sure that they are accurately answering these questions to the best of their knowledge.  While a "Yes" answer may not give rise to a ground of inadmissibility (ie. a reason an applicant cannot have be approved for permanent resident status), a purposeful and incorrect "No" answer can give rise to another issue - an allegation and charge of fraud/misrepresentation.

A fraud/misrepresentation finding is a lifetime bar - which can only be waived if the applicant can establish extreme hardship to their Lawful Permanent Resident or US Citizen Parent or Spouse (Lawful Permanent Resident or US Citizen children do not count as qualifying relatives for the hardship waiver). 

For example, Question #16 reads "Have you EVER worked in the United States without authorization?"  For most applicants for adjustment of status, having worked in the U.S. without authorization could lead to a denial of an adjustment application.  However, for immediate relatives (spouses, parents and unmarried children under age 21 of US Citizens), it does not.  It would also lead to denial for employment based adjustment applicants, unless they qualify for exception under INA §245(k). 

However, if either applicant fails to disclose the unauthorized employment, USCIS could charge them with inadmissibility under INA §212(a)(6)(c) - Fraud/Misrepresentation.  In some situations, this may be ultimately a salvageable issue - on legal grounds - but it could give rise to USCIS choosing to deny the adjustment application as a matter of discretion.

Ultimately, its become essential, now more than ever, that applicants with any type of adverse history (Criminal or immigration), speak to an experienced immigration attorney before applying for adjustment.

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