The Form I-485 Supplement J is a relatively new form. As its name suggests, it is a supplemental form to the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. While the Supplement J is used in employment-based adjustment of status applications to confirm a bona fide job offer still exists or to request “portability” to a new job offer, there are several other uses for it as well.
History of Form I-485 Supplement J
On January 17, 2017, USCIS began requiring a new form, I-485 Supplement J, a supplement to the adjustment of status Form I-485. In 2000, Congress passed the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act. This act improved several things for employment-based immigrants.
First, it allowed for H-1B extensions beyond the typical six-year limit for H-1B visas. It also allowed H-1B job portability by allowing H-1B visa holders to change employers more freely. It allowed H-1B visa holders to begin working with the new employer as soon as the H-1B change of employer petition is filed, rather than waiting in limbo for USCIS to approve the petition.
The act also created job portability for those with employment-based adjustment of status applications (Form I-485 applications) that have been pending for more than 180 days. Thus, applicants whose adjustment applications have been pending for greater than 180 days could now switch jobs without jeopardizing the validity of their Form I-140 and their labor certifications, or requiring their new employer to go through the lengthy labor certification/I-140 process.
Prior to the Form I-485 Supplement J, there was no uniform way to request job portability from USCIS, even though the American Competitiveness Act allowed for it. Essentially, one would simply write a letter to USCIS requesting job portability and potentially including a letter from the new employer confirming that a permanent job offer existed. USCIS addressed the issue by creating the Supplement J.
The Supplement J form has two explicit purposes: to confirm a bona fide job offer still exists (from one’s original I-140 petition) or to request job portability to a new employer or position. However, there are other uses for the Supplement J as well. Recently, USCIS has requested pending adjustment of status applicants take advantage of interfiling.
Interfiling is also referred to as a transfer of an underlying basis. Adjustment applicants can transfer the basis of their pending adjustment of status application to a different, valid basis that will hopefully result in their adjustment being processed faster by USCIS. Because there is an abundance of EB2 green cards this year, USCIS explicitly asked those applicants who are eligible to transfer their adjustment basis from EB3 to EB2 to do so through interfiling.
The different uses for Supplement J are described in more detail below.
Confirm Bona Fide Job Offer
USCIS requires applicants to file a Form I-485 Supplement J to confirm the permanent job offered in one’s I-140 is still a permanent offer. In practice, this means that adjustment of status applicants who file a Form I-485 application without a Form I-140 must include the Form I-485 Supplement J with their adjustment application. Therefore, if you are filing your I-485 with an I-140, a Supplement J is not necessary. If you are filing the I-485 and I-140 separately, then you must include a Supplement J.
Another use for Form I-485 Supplement J is to request job portability. Discussed briefly above, job portability allows certain adjustment of status applicants to change jobs or employers while their adjustment application is pending so long as the new position is in the same or similar occupation that was described on the initial labor certification/I-140 petition.
To be eligible for job portability, the adjustment applicant must have:
- An approved I-140 petition in the first, second, or third employment-based preference category
- An adjustment of status application that has been pending more than 180 days
- A new, permanent job offer in the same or similar occupational classification as the job in their I-140 petition
- The applicant must request to “port” to a new job or employer by submitting a Form I-485 Supplement J
There are several ways to show that your new job is the same or is a similar occupation to the one described in your initial labor certification/I-140. The easiest way, though not entirely conclusive, is if your new job is the same job code as the one listed on your I-140. Your job code goes directly on your I-485 Supplement J, so it will be obvious that the new job is the same or similar to your old one.
Alternatively, you can show that your new job is similar to your old one through similar job titles or descriptions, required skills or experience, required education or training, similar salaries, etc.
Another main use for Supplement J forms is interfiling. Interfiling, or a transfer of underlying basis, allows an adjustment of status applicant to transfer the basis of their adjustment to another category. For employment-based adjustment applicants, this often means switching from one employment-based preference category to another – so as from an EB-3-based adjustment of status application to swap in an approved EB-2 I-140 petition.
To be eligible to transfer one’s underlying basis, the applicant must have maintained continued eligibility for adjustment and no breaks in that eligibility. The applicant must also be eligible for the underlying basis they are requesting. Thus, if the applicant wants to transfer their basis from the third employment-based preference category to the second employment-based category, they need to have a valid EB2 I-140 job offer, too. So, for example, if you already switched employers intending to be permanently employed there and your new employer does not have an I-140 filed on your behalf, interfiling a prior employer’s approved I-140 petition is not possible.
While USCIS always has the discretion to grant or deny an interfiling request, USCIS recently encouraged employment-based adjustment applicants who are eligible to interfile and would likely benefit from interfiling to do so. This is encouraging. This indicates that USCIS does not want employment-based visas to go to waste (as they did in large amounts last year). Further, it means that, as long as you meet all the requirements, USCIS is highly likely to grant valid, employment-based interfiling requests.
USCIS specified that interfiling requests should now include Form I-485 Supplement J. There is also a new filing address. Interfiling request should now be sent to:
U. S. Department of Homeland Security
USCIS Western Forms Center
10 Application Way
Montclair, CA 91763-1350
Should I bring one to my Green Card Interview?
Finally, it may be a good idea to bring a Form I-485 Supplement J to your green card interview. Even if you submitted one prior to your interview, it cannot hurt to have another confirmation that you still have that job offer. Further, since USCIS offers no visibility into the interfiling process, there is no good way to ensure they have the Supplement J on file – so bringing it with you to the interview and physically handing the papers to the USCIS officer deciding your case is only to your benefit.
Contact Sam Shihab & Associates Today to Discuss Your Immigration Needs
As always, Sam Shihab & Associates is here to help you navigate the complex waters of immigration rules. Whether you are seeking to file a new I-485 Supplement J with an interfiling request or to apply for an adjustment of status with a Supplement J, you need the help of a qualified Columbus immigration lawyer. At Sam Shihab & Associates, our team of skilled immigration lawyers provides legal representation to clients throughout the United States.
While our law firm represents clients nationwide, we have office locations in Columbus and Dublin, Ohio, and Michigan, and Texas. Do not risk a denial of your petition by acting without the assistance of a Columbus immigration lawyer. Contact our office today by calling (866) 665-0001 or by completing an online form.