Update January 25, 2023
According to February’s visa bulletin, it seems like the F2A category will no longer remain “current.” If you are a dependent whose I-485 did not get approved with the principal’s I-485, you may consider F2A and have the principal file an I-130 on your behalf. It’s difficult to say whether this will be faster than continue waiting for your I-485 (dependent) to be approved.
If you are thinking about F2A, also check out USCIS’s page on “transfer of underlying basis.”
Update January 9, 2023
USCIS provides answers to some pressing questions.
Dependent’s I-485 still pending while Principal’s already approved in FY 2022
Dependent continues to be in a period of authorized stay while I-485 remains pending. They may file/renew EAD or Advance Parole.
Re-linking I-485 to a previous I-140
If the applicant re-linked I-485 to a different I-140 in FY 2022, the applicant may again re-link back to the previous I-140 by submitting form Supplement J.
I-485 at the local field office or national benefits center
If I-485 is impacted by retrogression, the application will be transferred from the local field office to the national benefits center. The NBC will monitor visa number availability and complete adjudication once visa becomes available. Advise applicant NOT TO contact USCIS when visa number is again available.
Wrong I-485 approvals
If concerned that I-485 was approved incorrectly, you may should out to USCIS at 1-800-375-5283
Update December 30, 2022
One final update about the client (from last update) whose GC was approved while visa was not available. We were finally able to get verbal confirmation from USCIS that a visa number was probably pre-allocated to the applicant, and as such, the I-485 was able to be approved during a month when PD was not current.
We also received a recent I-485 approval for a ROW applicant. The application was filed in April 2022. Total processing time is about 8 months.
Update October 21, 2022
We are going to close this page with this last post. Future updates will be on a new page for FY 2023 filings (a link will be shared soon).
This last post will end on a bizarre note. So buckle up. We don’t have any answers yet but may provide updates later.
One of our clients (an Indian National) filed I-485 EB2 in October 2020. PD is 11/10/2014. They were among the unlucky ones who despite filing early missed out on receiving their GC before numbers were used up in early September 2022.
Today, we received notification that the principal’s GC has been approved. NOTE: PD is not current. The crazy thing is that for the dependent, the case update showed the following: “We are temporarily pausing work on your application because an immigrant visa number is not immediately available to you”. This creates a lot of questions to which we don’t have answers. What’s clear is that the EB I-485 process is a complete mess. We’ll provide updates as soon as they become available.
We experienced a similar incident in 2021 where a family-based GC was issued despite PD was never current. It still is not current. Despite countless attempts to inform USCIS about the potential error, USCIS has not responded with a suitable course of action. We are preserving evidence of our good faith attempt to cure in case USCIS later wants to blame the applicant for not saying anything about the wrongly issued card.
Update September 12, 2022
Although it is now clear that EB1 EB2 and likely EB3 numbers have been used up, USCIS will continue to receive I-485 applications in accordance with the current September 2022 visa bulletin. USCIS will receive but can not approve until visa numbers are available again.
USCIS has also announced that starting in October, applicants should follow the dates of filing chart when filing the I-485 applications.
In summary, we saw a flurry of I-485 approvals that were filed in 2022 in recent months. Unfortunately, many 2021 and 2020 filers got bumped to the end of the line. Also notably, many dependents’ I-485 were separated from the Primary and many dependents’ I-485 are left stranded after Primarys’ I-485 have been approved. If you are in this situation, you may consider the family-based route under f2a. Dependents will still receive permanent GC as long as the marriage took place more than 2 years at the time of filing.
Update August 19, 2022
Some hope for the 2020 filers. Please watch your case status updates. Some pending I-485s (filed in October 2020) are now being transferred to National Benefits Center. Been waiting almost 2 years up to this point. Still not over.
Contrast that with some extremely fast approval times for 2022 filer. Unfortunately, not much you can do about the lack of FIFO.
Update August 9, 2022
In their efforts to use up all the available quota by 09/30/2022, USCIS has failed to process cases in the order they are received. Many 2022 filers are seeing record-breaking approval times while many 2020/2021 filers are still waiting. USCIS started transferring pending I-485 EBs from service centers to NBC in February to speed up the processing of I-485s. However, they failed to set up a system to process cases in the order they are received. Below are some fast approvals of I-485s filed in 2022.
Update July 29, 2022
Here’s another sample I-485 EB approval which was filed in July 2021. I-140 was approved in late July 2021. Case was transferred to National Benefits Center in April 2022. From NBC to approval, it took about 3 months. The 3 to 4-month timeframe seems reliable. See here for more info about transfers to NBC.
What’s important to note here is that another I-485 filed around the same time by a different beneficiary from the same company had received approval much faster – in just 3 months. That case was approved in Texas in 2021 and was never transferred to NBC. In short, there is no similar timeline for similar filers.
Update July 14, 2022
Some examples of recent approvals between April and July 2022 showing the most common processing timeframes. All have been transferred to National Benefits Center prior to approval. Unfortunately, USCIS is not following FIFO. Cases filed in 2021 and 2022 may be adjudicated ahead of those filed much earlier.
USCIS is focusing only on using up all the available visa numbers before the end of this FY (09/30/2022) without considering when I-485 was filed. Fair?
Update July 5, 2022
If you have not submitted the I-693 as part of the I-485 filing, please do not submit it until you have received an RFE specifically requesting it.
USCIS has created a lot of confusion in its social media drive about the I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. We noticed countless posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in recent months with a bold headline asking applicants to “send in the medical forms ASAP”.
Unfortunately, it’s bad messaging. The correct message is “send in the medical forms ASAP when requested“. Below is a sample post.
Yes, the details underneath the headline were correct but most only see the call to action and may have contributed to many submitting the missing I-693 prior to receiving the RFE.
USCIS may have recently recognized the problem and issued a clarification asking applicants not to submit Form I-693 unless they send you an RFE asking for the form.
For those who jumped the gun, it’s still possible that USCIS can link the missing I-693 to your pending I-485. However, there is no way to know for sure until you either receive the approval or the RFE (at which point, you may have to submit another medical exam).
Update June 28, 2022
also see USCIS posts alert about “Transfer the Underlying Basis” and creates inflated expectations over EB I-485 applications
Update May 17, 2022
USCIS is now showing new case status updates relating to pending I-485. Specifically, it will now tell you if your I-485 is put on hold due to visa number retrogression.
The crazy part is that the update for this case is incorrect. We had filed a request to transfer the underlying basis from EB3 to EB2 and have already received the I-485 J receipt (see earlier updates in USCIS posts alert and creates inflated expectations over EB I-485 applications). Visa number is current under EB2. Obviously, this whole transfer of the underlying basis is not working well.
Update April 25, 2022
As of February 17, 2022, USCIS has been transferring all employment-based I-485 cases (except 4th pref) from Nebraska and Texas to the National Benefits Center (NBC). Recently, we have noticed an increase in transfer notifications, and as a result, all of our pending concurrent filings from October 2020 have been either transferred or approved. Below are some sample transfer notifications.
NBC may also forward cases to local field offices throughout the US to speed up adjudication, especially those that require additional documents such as I-485 Supp J or medical exams. We received an RFE from the office in the US virgin islands in March for Supp J. Response was submitted immediately and the case we as approved this month.
Below are some approval notices of cases filed in October 2020. Many may soon be celebrating after one and a half years of waiting.
Update April 19, 2022
Some positive news to share. It does seem like stand-alone I-485s are being processed faster than I-485s that were filed concurrently with I-140s.
In other words, those few individuals who decided not to file a second I-140 EB3 together with I-485 during the latter part of 2020 and instead chose to wait for their EB2 to become current and later filing their respective I-485s in 2021 and 2022 are now receiving their approvals before the concurrent filers who had filed many months earlier.
Below is a sample approval of a stand-alone I-485 EB2 showing a 4-month wait. The Beneficiary could’ve filed concurrently with I-140 EB3 in October 2020. Instead, the Beneficiary chose to wait and the I-485 was filed on December 23, 2021, and approved on April 11, 2022. The beneficiary is a Chinese national. The approval was so quick that it came earlier than the EAD/AP rendering them moot.
We expect more stand-alone I-485 to be approved in the near future.
Update March 17, 2022
We are seeing an uptick in transfers of cases to NBC. This is a positive sign as USCIS is trying to quickly eliminate its backlog by transferring I-485s to places with more resources. For many transfers, they are actually being sent to a local field office although the transfer notice only lists the NBC.
Note that they may not be the local field office in your jurisdiction. Below is an RFE from the local field office in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Finally, many may receive similar RFEs as they get closer to final adjudication. Although in this case, the supplement J was not required at time of filing (the I-485 was filed concurrently with I-140 petition), USCIS may be seeking confirmation from the employer that the job offer continues to exist since the I-485 application has been pending for almost a year and a half.
Update February 3, 2022
Update November 15, 2021
Although we still have some I-485s (filed in October 2020) that are still pending, we have received all of the C09 EADs. Below is the final one which took the longest to process. This I-485 was filed concurrently with a second I-140 (EB3) at the Texas Service Center. Texas is slow compared to NBC.
Update November 8, 2021
We just received an extremely fast approval of an I-485 which was filed on July 27, 2021. The I-485 was approved on October 27, 2021. So total processing time was exactly 3 months.
Interestingly, this was filed concurrently with I-140 and as such at the Texas Service Center (TSC). Since October of 2020, applications filed at TSC are generally processed much slower than the national benefits center.
This is the fastest approval of an employment-based I-485 for FY 2021 by far.
Case history in detail:
- I-140 / I-485 filed concurrently on 07/27/2021
- I-140 upgraded to premium on 08/02/2021
- I-140 approved on 08/17/2021
- Biometrics completed on 10/21/2021
- I-485 approved on 10/27/2021 / interview waived
Update October 7, 2021
Update October 4, 2021
Here’s a sample I-485 approval issued right before the end of the fiscal year. I-485 was filed on 10/27/2020. EAD/AP was issued in July 2021. Biometrics completed in March 2020.
Update September 3, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval on 08/26/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 23, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on 08/16/2021.
This I-485 was filed concurrently with I-140 EB3 and as such filed at the Texas Service Center.
Among I-485s filed in October, cases filed at the Texas Service Center are processed slower than National Benefits Center.
PD: 12/20/2017 China
EB3 and EB2
Update August 20, 2021
Although almost all of the I-485 EB applications have been approved without an interview, interviews may still be requested. The trigger may be answering a “yes” to any of the inadmissibility questions in Form I-485 such as to a question regarding criminal conviction or arrest. But we’ve also seen plenty of “yes” responses that did not lead to an interview. It’s certainly interesting to find an interview request at the end of the fiscal year when USCIS is working hard to approve I-485s before 10/01/2021. See: Did You Receive a Text from USCIS about I-693? Temporary Extension of I-693 Validity from 2 Years to 4 Years
Before covid (when interviews are the norm), interviews are straightforward. Officer asks very simple questions about employment, immigration history, and goes through the form with you. It’s not a contentious meeting. The expectation is that your green card will be approved at the end of the interview.
Update August 16, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval on 08/09/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on November 2, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on May 6, 2021.
PD: 06/19/2012 India
Update August 10, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval on 08/02/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 27, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on March 5, 2021.
PD: 09/15/2017 China
EB2 & EB3
Update August 9, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval on 07/28/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 29, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on April 2, 2021.
PD: 08/15/2018 India
Update July 30, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval on 07/17/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 27, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on March 18, 2021.
PD: 07/22/2010 India
Applicant’s wife had requested expedited processing of EAD / AP and received her approvals a month earlier in June.
Update July 27, 2021
When you receive your I-485 supplement J receipt notice, the expectation then is that you will likely receive your I-485 approval within 2 months. Below is a sample showing I-485 supplement J receipt issued on 05/24/2021 and I-485 approval issued on 7/21/2021.
We are seeing this trend for the batch of I-485 cases filed after October 2020.
Update July 26, 2021
As a reminder, the processing of your I-485 is suspended if your Priority Date (PD) is no longer current. While your I-485 is no longer being processed, your EAD / AP if filed with I-485 will be adjudicated regardless of PD.
We received EAD / AP approval on 07/17/2021 for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 27, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on March 30, 2021.
A few days later on 07/21/2021, GC was approved.
PD: 11/14/2017 China
Update July 21, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 23, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on March 17, 2021.
PD: 10/27/2017 China
EB3 and EB2
Update July 19, 2021
We received an I-148 approval which was filed on October 26, 2020. Interview was waived. PD is 03/19/2018. EB3. Amazingly, client received Green card prior to receiving EAD/AP.
Update July 16, 2021
We received EAD / AP approval for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 22, 2020. The applicant completed biometrics on March 23, 2021.
Update June 30, 2021
We received EAD / AP approvals for an employment-based I-485 filed on October 27, 2020. Applicants completed their biometrics on March 5, 2021.
Update June 6, 2021
We are now receiving approvals of I-485s filed in August 2019. Again, interviews are being waived. This example is a Chinese National, EB2, with a PD in December 2016.
Update May 12, 2021
We are also receiving straight I-485 approvals (interview waived) for cases filed prior to October 2020. We received two approvals today: Both filed in July 2019. USCIS should waive more interviews and eliminate the backlog.
Update May 10, 2021
We just received our first I-485 EB approval today from the main batch of cases filed in October 2020. The interview was also waived.
Original Post April 26, 2021
As of April 26, 2021, all of our clients have received their receipt notices and have attended their biometrics appointments in connection with their I-485, I-765, I-131, or I-140 filed in September, October, or November 2020. A very few also received their Combo card / EAD.
However, there have been reports that some are still waiting for their receipts. Below is a flyer addressing some common concerns:
other related posts regarding USCIS delay:
- USCIS Receipt Delay Update: H-4 / H-4 EAD
- USCIS is Responding Quickly to Service Request Inquiry
- USCIS Receipt Notice Update: N-400
- USCIS Receipt Delays and Its Impact on Employment Verification
- USCIS Receipt Notice Update: Final Two I-485 Receipt Notices Received (4 months late)
- CIS Ombudsman Provides Case Assistance on Receipt Delays, Biometrics Appointment, EAD delays