How to Write an I-485 Cover Letter

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • A cover letter for an I-485 submission is essential to create a comprehensive package and highlight crucial details.
  • It articulates the application’s contents, encompassing documents, proof of fee payment, and establishing the applicant’s identity.
  • The cover letter adheres to a specific format, ensuring the inclusion of necessary information, and emphasizes organization, conciseness, and a positive tone.
  • While a sample cover letter is provided, its content may vary depending on individual circumstances, with emphasis on brevity, active voice, and a neat format within a one-page limit.

When you wish to become a lawful permanent resident by adjusting your status, you will have to file Form I-485. This applies if you don’t wish to take a trip home for your immigrant visa. But to tie all the documents together, you are going to need the I-485 cover letter. We’ll introduce you to the cover letter and everything about it in this article.

Why Is a Cover Letter Required when Submitting I-485?

When you submit an I-486, a cover letter is simply required because you need something that can tie all your documents together and form a proper package. This cover letter will mention important details about the package, such as what is included inside it, like documents or proof of fee payment. Information about the person submitting the letter is also mentioned, which will help identify the applicant.

Considering that applying for adjustment of status is often a very complex process, the I-485 cover letter will come in handy. It will explain why the application package was sent, and what can be found inside.

I-485 Cover Letter Format

There is usually a specific format that an I-485 cover letter follows. It’s just a basic structure that will not give you too much trouble. But even though it’s not that difficult, we still think it’s important to be aware of it. Here is what a format of the cover letter contains:

  • The date (the month, day, and year)
  • Postal address
  • The full name of the petitioner and the beneficiary
  • Subject line (For instance: “Adjustment of Status Application (Family-Based I-130 Immediate Relative))
  • Your reason for using full names to contact the USCIS
  • Salutation
  • Address the USCIS, and then mention the address of the service you are going to file at
  • Contact number in the event there are any concerns
  • A list of the enclosed documents
  • Closing salutation
  • Signature
  • Printing the full name

I-485 Cover Letter Sample

While knowing what the cover letter involves may be helpful, it will be easier to make your own if you saw a sample. That being said, we prepared a sample for you below.

At the same time, it’s essential to know that every situation varies. Your particular adjustment of status may contain different documents, and thus the cover letter will be a little different. In any case, the example we are going to offer is for a family-based adjustment of status, respectively the spouse of a U.S. citizen who files using Form I-130 concurrently. The example below shows you how an I-485 cover letter should look like for this situation.

Beneficiary name & Petitioner name:

USCIS address:
Joint Sponsor:

To Whom It May Concern:

Here, please find enclosed my Adjustment of Status application for [Your name], the beneficiary, and [Name of the petitioner], the petitioner, as well as the beneficiary’s U.S. citizen spouse.

The documents included in this package in order to support the application include:

  1. The check for $1,760 (Paid for the Form I-130 which cost $535, Form I-485 which cost $1,140, AND biometrics which were $85)
  2. Petitioner’s Form I-130
  3. Beneficiary’s Form I-485
  4. Form G-1145
  5. Beneficiary’s Form I-131
  6. Beneficiary’s Form I-765
  7. Petitioner’s Form I-864 petition
  8. Beneficiary’s Form I-130A
  9. Beneficiary’s Medical Exam
  10. A copy of the Birth Certificate of the Petitioner
  11. Copy of the Passport belonging to the beneficiary
  12. The birth certificate of the beneficiary and a translation for it
  13. Divorce decree of the beneficiary
  14. Copy of U.S. Marriage Certificate of the Petitioner and Beneficiary
  15. Copy of I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

All copies of the documents submitted are proper photocopies of documents that were unaltered. We also understand that later, we may have to submit some original documents to an Immigration or Consular officer. Thank you very much for assisting with processing this application. If you have any concerns or questions, please call me at [(000)000-0000].

[Your Name]

Tips for Writing Your I-485 Cover Letter

When you compose your cover letter, it’s very important to know how to write it so that it can be accepted. Also, it must be easy to read and understand by the receiver. This is why we are going to give you some tips on how to write this cover letter.

Keep It to One Page

Don’t write an entire novel. The purpose of the I-485 cover letter is to mention what documents are included, as well as who the petitioner and the beneficiary are, and offer some contact information as well.

You shouldn’t write more than a page. If you can keep it one page only, it’s ideal. It makes no sense to make it too long because the officers will not have time to read unnecessary information. So, keep it short and only include details that are actually relevant.

Make Sure It’s Organized and Neat

No matter what, the cover letter should be properly organized and neat – after all, you’re sending it to an official institution, so it should look good.

This is why you should have it formatted properly, with a nice, formal letter template. The font should be readable, so don’t go with the fanciest font you have available. It has to be simple and nice, not look like a band’s logo. On top of that, it has to be properly laid out too, so don’t forget this aspect.

Use the Active Voice

When writing your cover letter, there’s one important thing to keep in mind: using an active voice is ideal. You shouldn’t rely on the passive voice too much. So, it’s better to say something like “I started the project” (in an active voice) rather than saying “The project was started” (in the passive voice). You’ll come across as more direct and you’ll be more likely to have the attention of the person reading the cover letter. Therefore, avoid passive voice and make sure you reread your letter before submitting it to get rid of any sort of passive voice if possible.

Keep the Tone Positive

Throughout the entire letter, you should keep a positive tone. It will increase the chances of success if you keep everything on a positive note. Ensure that you talk about your skills, providing a summary of them. Furthermore, talk about your experience up to that point. This could include your academic qualifications and the amount of time you have been working in that field. The more experience you have and the more skilled you are, the better.

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The Bottom Line

The I-485 cover letter you have to compose when submitting Form I-485 has to be written properly. Otherwise, it will be hardly recognized, or will not be taken seriously. Although it’s not difficult to work on it, some advice and examples will help a lot, especially if you want to be sure you’re doing a good job. If you use the sample in this article as an example and consider the tips we provided, you shouldn’t find it too hard to write a good cover letter. Prepare all the documents and pack them nicely and mention every document in the cover letter. Also, don’t forget about the data of the beneficiary and the petitioner.

I-485 Cover Letter FAQ

What is an I-485 Cover Letter?

An I-485 Cover Letter is a formal letter that accompanies your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, when you submit it to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It serves as an introduction to your application package and provides essential information about your submission.

Why is an I-485 Cover Letter necessary?

An I-485 Cover Letter is not a mandatory requirement, but it is highly recommended. It helps streamline the application process, ensures that USCIS can easily identify your application, and provides a brief overview of your case. A well-organized cover letter can improve the USCIS officer’s understanding of your application.

What should be included in an I-485 Cover Letter?

An I-485 Cover Letter should include the following components:

  1. Introduction: Start with a formal salutation and introduction, including your name, address, and the date of the letter.
  2. Brief Overview: Provide a brief summary of the purpose of your application, such as adjusting your status to permanent residence based on family, employment, or other eligible categories.
  3. List of Enclosures: Include a list of all the supporting documents and forms you are submitting with your I-485 application. Be thorough and organized in listing these items.
  4. Payment Information: Mention any applicable fees or provide proof of payment, such as a check or money order.
  5. Special Requests or Circumstances: If you have any specific requests or are facing exceptional circumstances related to your application, briefly explain them in the cover letter.
  6. Contact Information: Include your contact information, including your phone number and email address, in case USCIS needs to reach you.
  7. Signature: Sign the cover letter and include your printed name beneath the signature.

Should the I-485 Cover Letter be formal?

Yes, the I-485 Cover Letter should be formal and professional. Use a standard business letter format, address it to the appropriate USCIS office, and avoid using colloquial language or casual tone. The cover letter is an official document, and a professional presentation is essential.

How should the I-485 Cover Letter be formatted?

Format the I-485 Cover Letter as a business letter. Use a legible font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and maintain a clear and organized structure. Use proper grammar and punctuation throughout the letter.

Is it necessary to include the I-485 Cover Letter in the application package?

Yes, you should include the I-485 Cover Letter as the first document in your application package. It should serve as the introduction to your entire submission, making it easier for USCIS to process your application.

Can I customize the I-485 Cover Letter based on my specific circumstances?

Yes, you can and should customize the I-485 Cover Letter based on your individual circumstances and the specific documents you are submitting. Tailoring the letter to your case helps USCIS officers understand your situation better.

Where can I find a template or sample of an I-485 Cover Letter?

You can find templates and samples of I-485 Cover Letters on various immigration websites, legal assistance organizations, and USCIS-related forums. Ensure that any template you use is up-to-date and accurate, as USCIS requirements may change.

Should I seek legal assistance for preparing the I-485 Cover Letter?

While preparing an I-485 Cover Letter is a task you can undertake on your own, seeking legal assistance or consulting an immigration attorney can be beneficial, especially if your case is complex or if you have concerns about your application. An attorney can provide guidance and ensure that your cover letter and application are complete and accurate.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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