Adjustment of status is the process through which beneficiaries of immigrant petitions can get green cards while in the U.S. They can get green cards while in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa without having to return to their home countries to complete visa processing, provided they have an approved immigrant petition.
The Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, application time frame may not be the same for all applicants and it will depend on certain factors including the case load of the USCIS office where they have filed their application and the basis of their application. Likewise, if they have filed their applications with errors, the wait time could be even longer.
Receive Application Receipt Notice (Approximately 2 – 3 weeks after filing)
Applicants will be send Form I-797C, Notice of Action (application receipt notice) if their Form I-485 packets have been filed properly. The receipt letter will reach the applicants in around 2–3 weeks from the date of filing the application. This letter shows that their applications for adjustment of status have been accepted by USCIS.
The application receipt notice is an important letter as this will have the application receipt number. Applicants will need to use this number to check their USCIS case status.
USCIS will send a Notice of Action even if it needs additional information to process an application or to reject an application that has not been filed properly.
Receive Biometrics Appointment Notice (Approximately 3-5 weeks after filing)
USCIS will send a biometrics appointment notice to applicants whose applications were accepted. This notice will include the biometrics appointment date, time and the address of the USCIS Application Support Center where the applicants will need to appear to submit biometrics information. This is an important step as USCIS will use the fingerprints to conduct a criminal background check. This applies to all applicants. It is mandatory to attend the appointment on the scheduled date and time. If necessary, applicants can reschedule this appointment.
Attend Biometrics Appointment (Approximately 5-8 weeks after filing)
The biometrics appointment is not an interview and it will not take more than 30 minutes. During this appointment, USCIS will collect photographs, fingerprints and signature. Applicants will need to take few documents with them to the interview. They will need to provide a photo identification to enter the USCIS Application Support Center where the appointment is scheduled. Following are few documents that the USCIS will accept.
- Passport from the applicant’s home country
- State-issued photo identification document
- Driver’s license
- Military photo identification document
Receive Interview Appointment Notice (Approximately 4-10 months after filing)
The beneficiary and the petitioner will receive an appointment notice for the adjustment of status interview. Remember, not all I-485 applicants will be required to appear for an interview. Interview will be waived for some applicants. USCIS will send interview appointment notices to applicants only if the agency believes that an interview is necessary to decide on their cases.
Attend Adjustment of Status Interview (Approximately 6-12 months after filing)
Adjustment of status interviews will be scheduled at a USCIS office and these interviews will not take more than 30 minutes. Applicants who move to a new address after filing Form I-485 will need to make sure they notify the USCIS of their address change as USCIS to make sure they receive their interview appointment notices and other correspondences from the USCIS.
Applicants must take a copy of their immigrant petitions and adjustment of status applications with them to the interview. They can review their applications they have submitted to make sure there is no discrepancy between the information they have provided in their applications and what they tell during the interview.
They can take with them originals of their birth and marriage certificates, and their passport that has the immigrant visa. If they hold an advance parole document or an employment authorization document, they can also take these documents with them to the interview.
Applicants can check the USCIS interview notice for the list of documents that they will need to take with them to the interview.
Receive Green Card (Approximately 8-14 months after filing)
Some applicants may receive their green cards at the end of their interview. Some may have to wait for months for the USCIS to approve their applications and issue a green card. USCIS will mail the green cards to the applicants whose applications have been approved. If an application is denied, USCIS will send a notice explaining the reasons for denial.