Adjustments of status time frames vary for the different categories of applicants. The processing times depend on the visa classification, the circumstance of the applicant and the caseload of the USCIS office that is processing the application. However, the steps involved in the process are generally the same for all applicants.
Adjustment of status is a big step. At times the process can be long and difficult. Following are the steps involved in the process.
Form I-485 Application Receipt Notice
If you have filed your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status package properly, you will receive a receipt notice from the USCIS in about two to three weeks after your application is accepted for processing; however, this time can vary from application to application. Form I-797C, Notice of Action is the receipt letter you will receive after you file your application. This I-797C receipt notice confirms that you are an adjustment of status applicant. Remember, your application will be accepted. and you will receive this notice only if you’ve filed your application properly.
If the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not accept your application, you will receive a notice saying that your application was rejected or a notice requesting additional supporting documents.
The next step is the biometrics appointment. Usually, you’ll receive a notice to appear at your local Application Support Center to submit your biometrics information in around three to five weeks after filing your application.
The location, date and time of your biometrics appointment will be printed on this notice.
On average, an appointment will be scheduled in about five to eight weeks from filing your application. Note, these times are estimates and they can vary depending on the USCIS office’s workload.
This step cannot be skipped. If you wish to reschedule this appointment because you are unable to make it to the scheduled appointment, you can request the USCIS reschedule your biometrics appointment. Instructions will be included on your appointment notice.
Biometrics appointments are usually short. Your photograph, fingerprints and signature will be collected at this appointment. Biometrics information collected will be used to conduct background checks. Be sure to bring with you your photo identification document and all of the documents listed on your appointment notice.
Employment Authorization Document
When applying for adjustment of status, if you also submitted Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, you will receive your work permit and your travel document after those applications are approved. The work permit will allow you to work legally in the U.S. while your application to adjust status is pending. The travel document (advance parole document) will allow you to travel outside of the U.S. Remember, USCIS will consider you abandoning your I-485 application if you happen to travel abroad without a travel document.
Adjustment of Status Interview
The next step is the adjustment of status interview. This interview is commonly scheduled in around six to twelve months from the date of filing your application.
In some cases, the USCIS may waive this interview. If an interview is required, you and the petitioner will receive a notice to appear at a USCIS office. Sometimes the petitioner may not be required to attend. The interview notice will have the location, date and time of the interview.
Most of the interview questions would be about your Form I-485. You can prepare for your interview by reviewing the I-485 application you filed and the supporting documents.
You can carry with you your passport that has the nonimmigrant visa, copies of your immigrant petition and adjustment of status application, originals of your birth certificate and other supporting documents you submitted along with Form I-485 and your advance parole or employment authorization document if you have one.
Receive Your Green Card
If you are required to appear for an interview and if your interview is successful, you will be informed at the end of the interview that you have been granted legal permanent residence. Your Green Card will then be mailed to you.
If your application is not approved, you will receive a notice saying that your application for adjustment of status has been denied. This notice will have the reasons for denial.
After you receive your Green Card, you can work legally in the U.S. with this card. You do not have to hold a work permit to work in the U.S. Your Green Card will also allow you to take short trips abroad as a legal resident of the U.S.