The journey of acquiring a U.S. green card can be a daunting and complex process for many individuals. Particularly, understanding the intricacies of the i-485 processing time which is usually 8-14 months.
Keep reading, we will unravel all the crucial details about the I-485 form processing time, equipping you with the knowledge required for a smooth and successful green card application.
Understanding the I-485 Form
Before diving into the i-485 processing time, it’s essential to understand what the I-485 form is. The I-485 form, formally known as the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is a crucial document filed by individuals seeking to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident, commonly known as obtaining a green card in USA.
Filing the I-485 form is a significant step in the green card process. It is typically used by individuals who are already present in the U.S. and wish to apply for permanent residency. This process is known as adjustment of status.
Key Factors Affecting I-485 Processing Time
The i-485 processing time can vary significantly depending on various factors. These factors include:
- USCIS Workload: The workload at the USCIS field office handling the application can significantly influence the processing time. High volumes of applications can result in longer processing times.
- Requests for Evidence (RFE): If USCIS requires additional information or evidence to make a decision on an application, they may issue an RFE. The time taken to respond to these requests and for USCIS to review the submitted evidence can extend the overall processing time.
- Background Checks: USCIS conducts various background checks as part of the adjudication process. These checks can contribute to delays if there are any complications or backlogs within those agencies’ systems.
- Incomplete or Inaccurate Applications: Incomplete or inaccurate applications can significantly impact processing times. Submitting a complete and accurate I-485 application along with supporting documents is vital for a successful application.
- Administrative Processing: Occasionally, applicants may undergo administrative processing, which involves further investigation or review of their case. This can occur for various reasons and may extend the processing time.
Typical Timeline for I-485 Processing
The timeline for the processing of Form I-485 can vary depending on several factors. However, here is a typical timeline that most applicants can expect:
- Receipt of Application (2-4 Weeks After Filing): After properly filing the Form I-485, USCIS will initially respond by mailing a receipt notice confirming the receipt of the application.
- Biometrics Appointment (5-8 Weeks After Filing): Next, USCIS mails an appointment notice that assigns the biometrics appointment date, time, and location. This appointment is for USCIS to collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
- Receipt of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Card (8-20 Weeks After Filing): If you also submitted Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, USCIS usually issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within this time frame.
- Adjustment of Status Interview (8-14 Months After Filing): Next in the I-485 timeline, you may receive a notice to attend an adjustment of status interview. The interview will generally be scheduled at the USCIS facility near you and will typically last less than 30 minutes.
- Receipt of Permanent Residence Status (8-14 Months After Filing): Once your adjustment of status application is approved, USCIS will mail the green card to you shortly thereafter.
Tracking the Progress of Your Application
USCIS offers various resources to track the progress of your I-485 application. One such resource is the ‘Case Status Online’ tool on the USCIS website, where you can check the current status of your application using your receipt number.
You can also check the ‘Processing Times’ page on the USCIS website for estimated processing times for different types of applications and field offices.
Potential Delays and How to Handle Them
Even with a well-prepared application, delays can occur. These could be due to a high volume of applications, changes in USCIS policies, or additional security checks. If your application is taking longer than the estimated processing time, it’s advisable to check the USCIS website for any updates or alerts regarding delays.
If there are no official updates, contacting USCIS customer service for assistance would be advisable.
You might also like to read about the i-90 processing time when a replacement is needed.