Filing for an adjustment of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be a time-consuming experience. Becoming a lawful permanent resident in the US is a big step, but the period involved in the process varies.
How long does it take for I-485 to get approved? Keep reading to find out.
What is Form I-485? – The Fundamentals
Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is the application form required by USCIS for foreign nationals who seek permanent residence in the United States or want to adjust their status to a US green card.
Several visa options require applicants to use Form I-485, including foreign applicants seeking to:
- Become lawful permanent residents through a US job offer
- Become lawful permanent residents through asylee status
- Become lawful permanent residents through refugee status
Filling out and submitting Form I-485 requires attention to detail. While the steps involved in the process tend to follow a set standard, processing time tends to vary depending on different factors, such as:
- The basis of the application (e.g., US sponsoring employer)
- USCIS case load
- The applicant’s ability to avoid mistakes and submit an adequate I-485 application package
Form I-485’s filing fee varies. For example, applicants aged 14 to 78 years old must pay a $1,140 form fee and an $85 biometrics fee for a total of $1,225.
How Long Does it Take for I-485 to Get Approved?
The first step is to fill out and submit Form I-485 to USCIS. Upon receipt of the application, USCIS may respond by mailing a receipt notice (Form I-797C) to confirm the application is already processing. The receipt notice generally arrives 2 to 3 weeks after filing Form I-485.
USCIS will issue an appointment notice to notify the applicant about his or her biometrics appointment. Most applicants wait 3 to 5 weeks after filing until they receive the appointment notice.
While it is possible to reschedule a biometrics appointment, it is fundamental for applicants to show up at the date, time, and location assigned by USCIS. Rescheduling the appointment may result in massive processing delays.
During the biometrics appointment (or biometrics screening), USCIS will collect the applicant’s fingerprints, photograph, and signature during a short appointment. The scheduled date is usually 5 to 8 weeks after filing.
If the applicant also filed for employment authorization or travel documents, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. This card functions as a work or travel permit for applicants under specific circumstances.
Approximately 4 to 10 months after filing, USCIS may issue a notice of interview. The interview is part of most applications, but some applicants can file for a waiver. If you want to determine your eligibility for a waiver, consult with an expert immigration lawyer.
For most applicants, the interview process takes place 6 to 12 months after filing I-485. Some applicants may obtain lawful permanent resident status (green card) at the end of the interview.
Other successful applicants may receive their green cards shortly after the interview by mail. If USCIS denies the application, they will issue a notice to explain the reasons behind the denial. The I-485 processing time generally requires a total of 8 to 14 months.