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Form I-485 Processing Time – Complete Guide

USCIS Case Processing Times

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Last updated: April 1, 2024.

By Asel Williams, Esq. · Columbia Law School · Licensed immigration attorney

You can expect the total I-485 processing time to be around 12-13 months.

It may take two weeks for USCIS to accept your application and send you a confirmation receipt.

You then will receive notice of your biometrics appointment, which you must attend. Sometimes USCIS can reuse the previously collected biometrics which means that you do not need to appear for appointment.

If you applied for a work permit and a travel document, it takes about 2-12 months to receive them after filing the application.

Next, you will have an interview at a local USCIS office.

The length of time that it takes for you to have an adjustment of status interview scheduled depends on several factors, including:

  • The type of category in which you are applying,
  • What dates and times are available for interviews, and 
  • How busy the office is at that point in time.

In many cases, it can take at least 11-12 months to get an interview scheduled, but you may have a longer wait depending on your situation.

For some categories of applicants, USCIS might waive the interview which means you don’t need to attend the interview and your green card will be mailed to your US address.

What is Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status)?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-485 is for foreign nationals who are living in the U.S. and want to apply for lawful permanent residence – a green card.

USCIS refers to this process as “Adjustment of Status.”

If USCIS approves your Form I-485, you will become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

This immigration status allows you to permanently live and work in the U.S.

After you have a green card for three or five years, you can apply for naturalization, which means that you can become a U.S. citizen.

When you submit Form I-485, you are providing USCIS with basic identifying information and documentation of your legal grounds for applying for a green card.

USCIS also will check to see if you are inadmissible for any reason.

Learn more:

How to Fill Out Form I-485

Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents

Who Can File Form I-485?

You can apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485 if you entered the U.S. lawfully and meet some other requirements.

For example, if you are in the U.S. in lawful nonimmigrant status (such as a F-1 student or B-1/B-2 tourist visa), your visa number is available you might be eligible to apply for adjustment of status.

You must be physically present in the U.S. when you file Form I-485.

If you are eligible, you can get a green card without going back to your native country.

You must meet all the requirements of a particular immigrant category to qualify for Adjustment of Status.

These categories include:

You also might qualify to apply for adjustment of status if you meet the requirements in a few other categories, such as if you are a Cuban native or citizen or have special immigrant status as a religious worker.

Who Cannot File Form I-485?

Some people do not qualify to file Form I-485. These people include:

  • Foreign immigrant applicants who are not present in the U.S.
  • Those who entered the U.S. on C/D visas
  • Those who entered the U.S. on their way to another country (stowaways)
  • Those whom the U.S. admitted as witnesses or informants
  • Persons who are deportable due to involvement in terrorist groups or activities

Some people also are inadmissible, which means that they cannot get a green card, even if they meet the other requirements.

Some situations that might disqualify you from getting a green card are:

  • You have a communicable disease or mental health condition
  • You have been convicted of certain crimes
  • You are a threat to U.S. national security
  • You have broken U.S. immigration laws in the past
  • You are likely to become a public charge, or dependent on U.S. benefits

A few other situations also can bar you from getting a green card.

In some cases, you might be able to get a waiver that still allows you to get a green card.

Form I-485 Checklist

The documents that USCIS requires you to submit depend on your immigrant category: Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents

However, some common documents are required for all applicants filing Form I-485, such as:

  • A picture ID issued by a government to confirm your identity, like a passport, driver’s license, or military ID card
  • Long-form birth certificate listing both parents’ names
  • If a birth certificate is unavailable, other records that confirm your date and place of birth, such as church, school, or hospital records, or written statements from relatives
  • Copies of documents showing that you were lawfully admitted to the U.S., such as a passport page with stamp or an arrival-departure record I-94
  • Documents showing that you qualify for the immigrant category that you are using to file your petition, such as your immigrant petition that you are filing at the same time as your Form I-485 or your Form I-130 approval notice for a previously filed petition
  • All documents in foreign language must be translated to English
  • Two color US passport-style photographs

There are some exceptions to these requirements if you are applying through some immigrant categories.

Specific categories also require additional documents.

Some immigrant categories, such as the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident require you to provide a copy of marriage certificate and proof of bona fide marriage: USCIS Marriage Interview, What to Expect and How to Prepare

Immediate Family Members of U.S. citizens

Immediate family members of U.S. citizens who are lawfully in the U.S. can apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485.

These family members include spouses, unmarried children under age 21, children adopted by U.S. citizens abroad or in the U.S., and parents of U.S. citizens who are age 21 or older.

To qualify for this category of Adjustment of Status applicant, you must also have a pending Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, which you can file at the same time as Form I-485. This process is called “Concurrent filing“.

Along with Form I-485, you also must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, completed by your U.S. citizen relative, and Form I-693, Record of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.

You also will need certified copies of all criminal records, including criminal charges, arrests, and convictions (if you have any).

Other forms also may be necessary, based on your situation.

Employment-based green cards

In some cases, employers may sponsor certain highly qualified citizens of other countries to remain in the U.S. as their employees.

In employment-based immigration, the US employer is called “Petitioner” and the employee is called “Beneficiary”.

Employers must submit Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, along with approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Some categories do not require labor certification.

If the beneficiary’s priority date on the most recent US Visa Bulletin is current, the beneficiary of Form I-140 can concurrently file Forms I-485, I-765 and I-131. You can check whether you are eligible for concurrent filing on current month’s USCIS chart

Learn more: How to Read the Visa Bulletin for Employment-Based Applications

In addition to the documents that all Adjustment of Status applicants must submit, employment-based applicants also must provide USCIS with:

  • Evidence of continuous lawful status while in the U.S.
  • Confirmation of their job offers
  • If self-petitioning, proof that you will continue working in the same field after your green card is approved;
  • Certified copies of all criminal records

In some cases, applicants seeking green cards through their employment may need to submit additional forms.

Learn more:

Employment-Based Immigration

K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa Applicants

One basis for seeking a green card is marriage to a U.S. citizen.

The foreign fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens can come to the U.S. on K-1 visas after the U.S. citizens have filed a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

These visas allow you to lawfully enter the U.S. if you marry your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within 90 days after your arrival.

K-1 visa holders who want to apply for a green card after marriage to their US citizen spouse, must submit Form I-485.

Learn more: Adjustment of Status for Fiancé(e)s

K-1 visa holders must submit the following forms after the marriage to a US citizen:

Learn more:

How to Fill Out Form I-485

How to Fill Out Affidavit of Support – Form I-864

Form I-765 Instructions, How to Fill Out

Form I-131 Instructions, How to Fill Out

Asylee or Refugee Status

If you have been living in the U.S. for at least one year after receiving asylum, you can seek a green card if you have maintained your status and still qualify as an asylee.

The only additional document that you must submit with your Form I-485 is a document showing that you were granted asylum, such as a USCIS approval notice or an immigration judge order.

Likewise, if you were admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, you can apply for a green card one year after receiving refugee status, if you have maintained your status.

You must submit documents showing that you were granted refugee status, such as a Form I-94 or Form I-571, Refugee Travel Document.

Victims of Human Trafficking

If you are a victim of human trafficking, you must have T nonimmigrant status and documentation that you have resided in the U.S. for at least three years or throughout the investigation and prosecution of the human trafficking crimes.

You also must provide proof that adjustment of status is warranted as a matter of discretion and that you have good moral character.

Finally, you must have documents showing that either you assisted in the investigation or prosecution of human traffickers, were under the age of 18 at the time the crimes occurred, or would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm if removed from the U.S.

Crime and Abuse Victims

If you are a victim of some crimes or abusive situations and hold U nonimmigrant status, you can apply for a green card if you have documentation that you have been living in the U.S. consistently for at least three years.

Like victims of human trafficking, you also must show proof that you assisted law enforcement agencies in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes.

Finally, you also must prove that adjustment of status is warranted as a matter of discretion in your cases.

Form I-485 Fees

Form I-485 application fee depends on your category:

Form I-485 Filing Category

Paper Filing Fee

General Filing

$1,440

If under 14 years of age and submitting Form I-485 concurrently with the Form I-485 of one parent.

$950

If you are filing as an applicant who served honorably on active duty in the U.S. armed forces and who is filing under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) section 101(a)(27)(K).

$0

If you are filing as a refugee or you were paroled as a refugee.

$0

If you are in deportation, exclusion, or removal proceedings before an immigration judge, and the court waives your application fee.

$0

If you are filing as a person seeking or granted Special Immigrant Juvenile classification.

$0

If you are filing as a U nonimmigrant seeking adjustment of status under INA section 245(m).

$0

If you are filing as a T nonimmigrant seeking adjustment of status under INA section 245(l).

$0

If you are filing as a person seeking or granted special immigrant visa or status as:

  • An Afghan or Iraqi translator or interpreter;
  • An Iraqi national employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government;
  • An Afghan national employed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government or employed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); or
  • A derivative beneficiary of one of the above.

$0

If you are filing under Section 13 of Pub. L. 85-316 as an Afghan diplomat or immediate family member who held valid A or G status on July 14, 2021.

$0

If you are filing as a person seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA).

$0

If you are filing as a person seeking adjustment of status as an abused spouse or child under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA).

$0

If you are filing as a person seeking immigrant classification as a Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner (including derivatives).

$0

Certain applicants may be eligible for a Fee Waiver. Learn more: Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

Form I-485 Processing Time

Family-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application centerProcessing time
Agana GU8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Albany NY8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Albuquerque NM8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Anchorage AK8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Atlanta GA9 Months to 29 Months
Baltimore MD13.5 Months to 38.5 Months
Boise ID8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Boston MA7 Months to 21.5 Months
Brooklyn NY12.5 Months to 31.5 Months
Buffalo NY8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Charleston SC10 Months to 31 Months
Charlotte Amalie VI8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Charlotte NC8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Chicago IL6 Months to 28.5 Months
Christiansted VI8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Cincinnati OH8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Cleveland OH8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Columbus OH8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Dallas TX8 Months to 23 Months
Denver CO7.5 Months to 23 Months
Des Moines IA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Detroit MI6.5 Months to 12.5 Months
El Paso TX5.5 Months to 11.5 Months
Fort Myers FL8.5 Months to 27 Months
Fort Smith AR8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Fresno CA6 Months to 10.5 Months
Greer SC8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Harlingen TX6.5 Months to 16 Months
Hartford CT10.5 Months to 22.5 Months
Helena MT8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Hialeah FL8.5 Months to 23 Months
Honolulu HI8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Houston TX12.5 Months to 31.5 Months
Imperial CA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Indianapolis IN9 Months to 27.5 Months
Jacksonville FL8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Kansas City MO6.5 Months to 23.5 Months
Kendall FL10 Months to 31.5 Months
Las Vegas NV8 Months to 22.5 Months
Lawrence MA7.5 Months to 29 Months
Long Island NY7.5 Months to 27 Months
Los Angeles CA7 Months to 23 Months
Los Angeles County CA8.5 Months to 23 Months
Louisville KY8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Manchester NH8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Memphis TN6 Months to 11 Months
Miami FL21.5 Months to 40.5 Months
Milwaukee WI8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN8 Months to 21.5 Months
Montgomery AL7 Months to 17.5 Months
Mount Laurel NJ8 Months to 22 Months
Nashville TN8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Newark NJ11 Months to 22.5 Months
New Orleans LA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
New York City NY12.5 Months to 32 Months
Norfolk VA7 Months to 18.5 Months
Oakland Park FL12.5 Months to 34 Months
Oklahoma City OK8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Omaha NE8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Orlando FL9.5 Months to 23 Months
Philadelphia PA8 Months to 25.5 Months
Phoenix AZ9 Months to 29 Months
Pittsburgh PA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Portland ME8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Portland OR8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Providence RI8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Queens NY10 Months to 26.5 Months
Raleigh NC7 Months to 27 Months
Reno NV8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Sacramento CA11.5 Months to 22.5 Months
Saint Albans VT8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Saint Louis MO8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Salt Lake City UT8.5 Months to 21 Months
San Antonio TX7.5 Months to 15 Months
San Bernardino CA6 Months to 14 Months
San Diego CA7 Months to 15.5 Months
San Fernando Valley CA7 Months to 19 Months
San Francisco CA11 Months to 25 Months
San Jose CA11.5 Months to 21 Months
San Juan PR8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Santa Ana CA9.5 Months to 20.5 Months
Seattle WA17.5 Months to 26.5 Months
Spokane WA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Tampa FL8 Months to 19 Months
Tucson AZ8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Washington DC12 Months to 21.5 Months
West Palm Beach FL10 Months to 32 Months
Wichita KS8.5 Months to 25.5 Months
Yakima WA8.5 Months to 25.5 Months

Employment-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application centerProcessing time
All application centers8.5 Months to 27.5 Months

Asylum-Based Form I-485 Processing Time

Application centerProcessing time
Nebraska Service Center7 Months to 31 Months
Texas Service Center7 Months to 31 Months

Refugee-Based Form I-485 Processing Times

Application centerProcessing time
Nebraska Service Center9.5 Months to 13.5 Months

Under HRIFA, Indochinese Adjustment Act, Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act, or NACARA Form I-485 Processing Times

Application centerProcessing time
Nebraska Service Center14.5 Months to 64 Months

Based on an approved T Visa Form I-485 Processing Times

Application centerProcessing time
Vermont Service Center16.5 Months to 20 Months
Vermont Service Center10 Months to 20.5 Months

Filing Form I-485 After Visa Overstay

If you stay in the U.S. past the time that you are legally authorized to do so (“visa overstay”), you might still be able to seek an adjustment of status.

Various factors determine whether a visa overstay can negatively affect your ability to get a green card.

Overstaying your visa by 180 days or more can result in you being unable to reenter the U.S. for three years.

Overstaying your visa by one year or more can stop you from reentering the U.S. for ten years.

These situations can make it extremely difficult for you to get a green card.

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you are more likely to get a green card after an overstay if you have committed no other criminal or immigration violations.

Your U.S. citizen relative can file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf even if you overstayed your visa.

As an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, you may have the best chance of getting your green card if you have:

  • A current visa overstay, but you have not left the U.S. since your arrival

Other relatives, however, who fall within the family preference instead of the immediate relative category and who have overstayed their visas are likely to have a hard time getting green cards.

These people include non-immediate relatives, such as children over the age of 21 and siblings of U.S. citizens.

Filing Form I-485 After Unauthorized Employment in the U.S.

If you are legally present in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, you generally cannot lawfully work while in the U.S. (with some exceptions).

Engaging in unauthorized employment can cause difficulties for you if you later want to get a green card and remain in the U.S.

Even if you have work authorization while in the U.S., if you perform different work or work longer than your work permit allowed, you can have a harder time getting a green card.

Fortunately, there are some exceptions to these general rules.

These bars to getting a green card do not apply to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and some other immigrant categories.

You still may be able to get a green card if you are a member of any of the following categories:

  • Applicants under the Violence Against Women Act
  • Some doctors or other advanced-degree holders, as well as their spouses and children
  • Some G-4 and NATO-6 employees, along with their family members
  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Nationals of Afghanistan or Iraq who worked as translators with the U.S. Armed Forces of for the federal government

Section 245(k) also allows some people to get green cards, even after unauthorized U.S. employment.

If you fall within some specific categories, lawfully entered the U.S., and did not engage in unauthorized employment for a total of 180 days or more, you could qualify for a green card.

These categories of people who may be eligible for adjustment of status under Section 245(k) include religious workers and those who qualify as EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 workers.

You must meet several criteria to qualify as a religious worker, including being a member of a religion that has had a non-profit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two years and coming to work with such an organization in a full-time, compensated position.

You also must have been working in a similar position with that religion for at least two years before applying.

EB-1 workers include aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and some multinational managers and executives.

EB-2 workers are those who work in professions that require advanced degrees or who have exceptional ability.

Finally, EB-3 workers include skilled workers, professionals, and some other workers.

Related Links:

Adjustment of Status Process

How to Fill Out Form I-485

Form I-485 Checklist of Required Documents