When Can I Safely Leave My Employer After Getting I-485 Approved?
AC21 portability is available prior to approval; afterwards, it is not mentioned as an option or limitation anywhere in the statute or USCIS guidance. Once your I-485 is approved, you are a lawful permanent resident able to work for whomever you wish (or not at all). That being said, many attorneys, myself included, warn you to not change jobs until 180 days or 6 months from the date of filing the I-485 or after approval. This advice is based on as assumption that if Congress allowed AC21 portability after 180 days then the same amount of time would eliminate any potential for a fraud investigation if you pursue naturalization. I have heard anecdotes among practitioners that the issue of intent may arise if you seek naturalization and I have had this question raised in a naturalization interview. The USCIS does reserve the right to revoke your lawful permanent resident status, though I have not seen this happen in our practice.
Mr. Smith is an attorney with over 25 years of immigration experience with complex immigration issues and successful filings. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Smith’s statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.