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Should I file my family’s I-485 applications in the same envelope?

file family I-485 applications togetherIf your family is filing multiple I-485 applications, you may want to combine them. However, it’s very important to organize them separately so that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t mix up or misplace your paperwork.

Submitting your family’s cases together is simple with a little preparation. Adjustment of status applications generally include several forms and many supporting documents. Combining more than one I-485 applications together in the same parcel can make it overwhelming for the person receiving your package. Organization is vital.

Reasons to File Multiple Applications Together

If Form I-485 for a child age 13 or younger is filed in the same package with the Form I-485 of at least one parent, the fee for the child’s Form I-485 is reduced to $750. This is one example of why you may want to combine applications. Although USCIS will process each case separately, most families of applicants prefer to submit their paperwork together. But without some organization, you run the risk of mixing up applications and confusing USCIS. This could result in a unnecessary Request for Evidence or even a rejection.

Some people just want to submit their applications together as a family unit. That’s okay too.

How to Package Multiple I-485 Applications

Consider organizing each application in a separate envelope. For example, use a separate 9” x 12” envelope that includes one I-485, a separate check for USCIS fees, and supporting documents for each application. If you have a family of four, you’ll have four separate envelopes. Bundle the multiple envelopes inside one larger package (or box). In this way, each application package is organized separately but combined for the purposes of applying together. Alternatively, you may separate the cases by rubber band or fasteners if you are sending more than one case in an envelope.

RECOMMENDED: How to Assemble Your Adjustment of Status Package

Organization Best Practices

In preparing each package (case), USCIS recommends that you:

  • Do not use binders or folders that USCIS cannot easily disassemble.
  • Use fasteners to hold together thick or bulky applications or petitions. Two-hole punching the top of the material for easy placement in the file is appreciated.
  • Do not use heavy-duty staples; instead use fasteners or heavy clips.
  • Sticky tabs assist in locating items listed as attachments. For easy filing, place the tabs on the bottom of the page, not the side.
  • Do not submit originals unless specifically required.
  • Do not submit oversized documentation unless it is necessary.
Source: USCIS