The waits for adjusting status to a lawful permanent resident of the United States is a big step that can take long and be sometimes tricky. Because of this, it is not rare for people to feel anxious, trying to find out what happens after filing Form I-485 and how long it will take to receive the green card.
Although the steps that take place are reasonably consistent, the Form I-485 processing time will vary significantly based on the application, USCIS caseload, and the applicant’s ability to properly file an accurately prepared adjustment of the status application package. The following outline describes the necessary steps of the I-485 timeline.
If you properly file Form I-485, USCIS will initially respond by emailing you a receipt notice, known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action, confirming that your application arrived. The notice typically comes at USCIC two to three weeks after you filed your application package. Contrary, if you fail to file Form I-485 properly, USCIS would send a Notice of Action to reject the application or send a Request for Evidence demanding additional items. Either will significantly delay your request. Thus, it is vital to correctly prepare the status application package’s adjustment and submit all required supporting documents.
Next, approximately two to three weeks after applying, you will receive an appointment notice. It is not an interview but a biometrics appointment that generally takes place at the USCIS Application Support Center nearest you. With this notice, you will get the information about the exact location, time, and date. Here, you will pass a security clearance and criminal background check.
After this appointment, and usually, five to eight weeks after filing, you will have one more appointment – the biometrics appointment. This is a short biometrics screening where the USCIS can collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. It is necessary to follow instructions from the appointment notice and bring the required items it stated.
As a part of your adjustment of the status package, you might also have filed Form I-765 and Form I-131. If this is the case, you will then receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit. If you filed both forms, Application for Employment Authorization and Application for Travel Document, you would receive a combo card, meaning you may work in the United States and travel outside according to advance parole criteria.
Four to eight weeks after submitting your application, you and the petitioner will most likely receive a notice to attend a status interview adjustment. The interview notice will be mailed as another Form I-797, Notice of Action. The status interview adjustment will be scheduled at a USCIS facility near you, and it probably will last less than 30 minutes.
Next in this timeline is attending an adjustment of status interview. Usually, it will take place six to 12 months after filing I-485, meaning you will have enough time to prepare your answers and documents because it is the essential step on the way to your green card. You can be granted permanent residence right after the interview. Your green card will likely arrive about eight to 14 months after submitting the application package, and you will no longer need the EAD card. But, if USCIS denies your application, they will send you a notice explaining the denial reasons.
So, after having an insight on necessary steps that you will undertake after filing you Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, you can see that I-485 processing time can take anywhere from 8 to 14 months. You can check your case status with your receipt number. For some, this waiting time may be shorter, and for others longer, but the basis of your adjustment of status (e.g., family, employment, asylum, etc.) will be a significant factor.