Green Card Processing Time
What Happens After Filing an Adjustment of Status Application
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 green card processing time and the different steps along the way.
Although the steps that take place are fairly consistent, the green card processing time will vary significantly depending 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 green card time line for most people.
Receipt of ApplicationAPPROXIMATELY 2 TO 3 WEEKS AFTER FILING
Nearly 9% of Form I-485 applications are rejected, and thousands more are denied. 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 guarantee USCIS will approve your application. No credit card is required to try it.
Appointment Notice for BiometricsAPPROXIMATELY 3 TO 5 WEEKS AFTER FILING
Biometrics AppointmentAPPROXIMATELY 5 TO 8 WEEKS AFTER FILING
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
Receive Your EAD CardAPPROXIMATELY 12 TO 16 WEEKS AFTER FILING
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.
Tip: Make a photocopy of both sides of your new EAD card. It may come in handy in the future.
Notice of InterviewAPPROXIMATELY 4 TO 10 MONTHS AFTER FILING
Next in the family-based green card time line, 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.
Adjustment of Status InterviewAPPROXIMATELY 6 TO 12 MONTHS AFTER FILING
If you will attend an I-485 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 ResidenceAPPROXIMATELY 8 TO 14 MONTHS AFTER FILING
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!