Caroline Ostrom, Minneapolis business immigration attorney, assists clients with every step of the I-485, Application for Permanent Residence. This is the final step necessary for a green card through employment for all workers – including categories EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding form I-485.

The Visa Bulletin

All employment-based immigrant visa petitions are subject to numerical limits established by Congress and updated each month by the Department of State in a document called the Visa Bulletin. In the Visa Bulletin, the world is divided into 6 categories – 1) China (mainland), 2) El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, 3) India, 4) Mexico, 5) the Philippines, and 6) All Other Countries.

The I-140 beneficiary (“employee”) can file the I-485 Application to change status to legal permanent residence when their Priority Date is “current” for filing in their category and country of chargeability. The category and Priority Date are established with the filing of the PERM (labor certification) if one is required, or the date of the filing of the I-140, for cases that do not require PERM. The category and priority date are also typically listed on the I-140 approval notice. Please note: the country of chargeability is the country in which the employee was born and not their country of citizenship.

Within the Visa Bulletin, there are two charts for the employment-based category: the “final action dates” and “dates for filing” charts. USCIS lists here if you can move forward with your filing using the “dates for filing” chart, but the “final action dates” chart must be current before a green card can be approved and issued.

When the Priority Date on the I-140 is earlier than the date listed for that category and country on the Visa Bulletin, the employee can then apply to Adjust Status or Consular Process. (For example, an EB-2 worker born in India with a Priority Date of January 1, 2015, could Adjust Status or Consular Process when the EB-2 India category on the Visa Bulletin lists a date of January 2, 2015, or later.)

If the Priority Date is current when ready to file the I-140 Petition, and the employee does not have any bars to filing for green card status in the US, the I-140 and I-485 Application for Permanent Residence can be filed concurrently.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Process

Our office can help determine if an Adjustment of Status or Consular Process application is best suited for a particular case. Generally speaking, an employee is eligible to Adjust Status in the US if:

  • The priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin;
  • The employee entered the US in valid status (e.g., H-1B, L-1, etc.);
  • The employee has not had any breaks in valid status more than180 days in the aggregate since their last entry into the US;
  • The employee has not worked without authorization in the US for more than 180 days in the aggregate since their last entry into the US;
  • The employee does not have a criminal record or other ineligibility that makes them ineligible for applying for a green card

The employee may be eligible to Consular Process at an US Consulate or Embassy abroad instead if:

  • The priority date is current on the Visa Bulletin;
  • The employee is currently outside of the US and does not have a basis to enter in a status that allows for dual intent;
  • The employee is in the US but their valid status (e.g., H-1B, L-1, etc.) has ended or will end soon and cannot be extended to fit under the 180-day exception referenced above;
  • The employee does not have a criminal record or other ineligibility that makes them ineligible for applying for a green card.

Requirements for an Employment-Based Adjustment of Status or Consular Process

The employer who submitted the PERM (Labor Certification) on behalf of the employee (if applicable), must continue to have a legitimate offer of employment as set forth in the PERM when filing the I-140 petition and I-485 application concurrently. If the employee is adjusting status in the US and the I-140 was filed separately from the I-485, the employer and employee will need to complete form I-485J, Confirmation of Bona Fide Job Offer (Supp J) to affirm that the job offer as set forth in the I-140 continues to exist. If the employee is consular processing abroad, they will need a recently signed job offer letter, affirming that the employer still offers the position as laid out in the I-140 petition.

For I-140 Petitions that require employer sponsorship, the approved I-140 petition is only transferrable to another employer if the employee also has an I-485 application that has been pending for at least 180 days, and the position with the new employer is the same or similar. The position can be at any location in the US.

If the employee switches employers after an I-140 is approved but prior to having an I-485 application that has been pending for at least 180 days, the employee will need a new, approved I-140 from their current employer to continue with the green card process. They can retain their Priority Date from the first I-140 petition but will need to start the green card process over from the beginning (PERM), and then obtain an approved I-140 from their new employer.


If the employee has eligible dependents (spouse and children under 21), these dependents may be eligible to Adjust Status or Consular Process, together with the worker. Each applicant will need to submit their own application, filing fee, and supporting documents.

If the employee is living in the US and their dependents are living abroad, the employee will need to submit form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, to have the dependents Consular Process at a US Consulate abroad. In this case, the dependents would not be able to Consular Process until after the worker receives their approved green card.

Some dependent children who have recently, or will soon turn 21 have some limited protection under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) and are able to be approved for a green card even after they turn 21. Our office can help you determine if this is applicable for your dependents and discuss alternate options if it is not applicable.

How Our Minneapolis Immigration Attorney Can Help

Ostrom Law Office c evaluate their eligibility for the I-485 or Consular Process. If eligible, we will assist workers with gathering proper documentation, coordinating necessary documents with the petitioning employer, ensuring all timelines are met, and submitting the application directly to USCIS or the US Department of State. We also prepare you for the interview and attend the interview with you if one is scheduled (if in Minneapolis).

Based in Minneapolis, our immigration team works with employees and companies in the Twin Cities and throughout the globe. We welcome you to contact Ostrom Law Office for assistance with your immigration matter.