Form I-485 Processing Time

What Happens After Filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status

Adjusting status to a lawful permanent resident of the United States is a big step. The wait can be long and difficult. You’re probably anxious to know what happens after filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and how long it will take to receive your green card. We’ve provided an outline of the I-485 processing time and the different steps along the way.

Although the steps that take place are fairly consistent, the Form I-485 processing time will vary significantly based on the basis of the application, USCIS case load, and your ability to properly file an accurately prepared adjustment of status application package. The following outline describes the basic steps of the I-485 time line for most people.

Form I-485 processing time line, what happens after filing

Receipt of Application

If you properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, USCIS will initially respond by mailing you a receipt notice that confirms receipt of your application. Formally known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action (see example below), the receipt notice typically arrives 2 to 3 weeks after filing. If you did not properly file your Form I-485, USCIS will send a Notice of Action to reject the application or may send a Request for Evidence that requests additional items. Either will significantly delay your request. Thus, it is vital to prepare the adjustment of status application package correctly and submit all required supporting documents.
I-797c receipt notice during I-485 time line

Tip: Save this important letter. It contains your 10-digit receipt number. You can use this receipt number to check your case status. If you didn’t receive a Notice of Action, you can make a case inquiry.

Nearly 11% of Form I-485 applications are rejected, and USCIS denies thousands more. A poorly prepared application can also delay the approval process and even create significant immigration problems. When you prepare your I-485 on CitizenPath, we provide simple, step-by-step instructions and alerts to help you avoid costly delays. We even have a money-back guarantee USCIS will approve your application. No credit card is required to try it.

approval guarantee for Form I-485

Appointment Notice for Biometrics

Next, you will receive an appointment notice that assigns your biometrics appointment date, time and location. (The location will generally be the USCIS Application Support Center nearest you.) USCIS requires applicants to be fingerprinted for the purpose of conducting a security clearance and criminal background check. Don’t be alarmed — All applicants must have background checks.
Tip: Generally it’s best to show up only on your scheduled appointment date and time. But it is possible to re-schedule a USCIS biometrics appointment if necessary. Learn more in our biometrics appointment FAQs.

Biometrics Appointment


The biometrics appointment, also known as a biometrics screening, is generally a short appointment (approximately 30 minutes) so that USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photograph and signature. Your appointment notice will tell you what you need to take to the appointment. Expect to take some form of government-issued photo identification to enter the building. USCIS can accept ID documents such as:

  • Passport or national photo identification issued by your country
  • Driver’s license
  • Military photo identification
  • State-issued photo identification card
biometrics appointment during adjustment of status time line
This is not an interview. The appointment’s purpose is to collect your biometrics information only. Try to attend the appointment as scheduled. Rescheduling the biometrics will affect the I-485 processing time. To learn more about the appointment, read USCIS biometrics appointment.
Tip: If you think you might have a criminal record (even a DUI), contact an immigration lawyer before going to a biometrics appointment. Some crimes will make you ineligible for immigration benefits. A lawyer can request a background check before USCIS does and deal with it as necessary.

Receive Your EAD Card


If you also submitted Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, as a part of your adjustment of status package, you will be receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Many people call it a work permit. If you applied for both, the EAD and advance parole travel document are generally combined on a single combo card.

With the combo card, you are considered an adjustment of status applicant who may work in the United States and travel outside the U.S. according to the criteria of advance parole.

employment authorization and advance parole combo card arrives 3-4 months after filing

Tip: Make a photocopy of both sides of your new EAD card. It may come in handy in the future.

Notice of Interview


Next in the I-485 timeline, you and the petitioner will most likely receive a notice to attend an adjustment of status interview. However, it’s possible that your interview could be waived. Or USCIS may not require your petitioner to attend. Interviews should not be feared; they are a normal part of the process. Your type of case will influence the decision to have an interview, but filing a well-prepared adjustment package with all necessary documentation helps your chances.

The interview notice will arrive by mail as another Form I-797, Notice of Action. The adjustment of status interview will be scheduled at a USCIS facility near you, and it probably will last less than 30 minutes.

Tip: If you change your address after filing your Form I-485, notify USCIS within 10 days of your relocation by filing Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address. You also must call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to change the address with your pending I-485 application.

Adjustment of Status Interview


If you will attend an adjustment of status interview, it’s a good idea to get prepared. Start by reviewing your I-485 and related forms. Be sure that you’re familiar with the answers. If anything is out-of-date (such as a new address or employer), take the updated information with you to the interview.

There are several items that you should be prepared to take to the interview:

  • A complete copy of your immigrant petition and adjustment of status application. The USCIS officer will be reviewing these documents, so be able to explain your answers if necessary.
  • Originals of any documents that you submitted copies to USCIS, such as birth and marriage certificates.
  • Advance Parole document and/or Employment Authorization Card (if you have one).
  • Your passport, which contains the nonimmigrant visa by which you entered the U.S.

Tip: Review the USCIS interview notice for a complete list of items that you should take to the adjustment of status interview.

Receive Permanent Residence


In some cases, you may be granted permanent residence at the end of the interview. If approved, USCIS will mail the green card to you shortly thereafter. If USCIS denies your application, they will mail you a notice explaining the reasons for the adjustment of status denial.

Once you have your green card, you no longer need the EAD card. As a permanent resident, you have the right to travel outside the United States and return with a valid green card. You may also use the card as proof of your right to work in the United States. Congratulations!

Tip: Once your adjustment of status application is approved, you may ask the USCIS office to place an “I-551” stamp in your passport. This is temporary proof that you are a permanent resident and is valid for re-entry at a U.S. port of entry. If you did not receive your green card in the mail, you can make a case inquiry.

Form I-485 Processing Time Summary

After filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, and related forms, your I-485 processing time can take anywhere from 8 to 14 months. The basis of your adjustment of status (e.g. family, employment, asylum, etc.) will be a significant factor. This is an approximation. It may be shorter for some and longer for others. In some cases, USCIS will make a request for additional information or even schedule an additional interview. Don’t forget — you can check your case status online with your receipt number. The USCIS website also lists normal processing times. If you believe that your case is outside the normal processing times, you can make a case inquiry.