USCIS Processing Times for Form I-485 | June 2020

When were the I-485 Processing Times last updated?

USCIS last updated the ‘50%’ and ‘93%’ data for all USCIS Field Offices on May 10th, 2020. We expect the next update to take place the first week of April 2020, although the Coronavirus situation might disrupt of delay the release.

What is the likely impact of Covid-19 on I-485 Processing Times?
USCIS stopped interviews on March 18th 2020 until at least April 7th 2020. Considering the protection measures being lengthened everywhere, it is reasonable at this point to assume that the process of scheduling interviews will not be re-started until the end of April, which means no interviews until mid-May.
As a result, at this point, we expect an across the board increase of I-485 Processing Times of +2 months. The increase will show up more or less abruptly in the numbers depending on which interviews USCIS prioritizes when they resume activities.

When will my I-485 be adjudicated?
Before we get into the details, based on the averages of the last 12 months, the percentage of I-485s processed at a typical USCIS Field Office look something like that:

What did the latest numbers tell you about performance?
In order to assess where we stand, Immigration Planner compares the latest with two key indicators:

  • For all USCIS Field Offices, we compute an average of their ‘50%’ and their ‘93%’ over the last 12 months. Because Processing Times can vary greatly from one month to the next, the average is a better indicator of what you, as an Applicant, might experience;
  • We track the performance of all I-485s through a ‘weighted-average’. In other words, instead of looking a the average performance of all USCIS Field Offices, we take into account the volume of I-485s processed by the Offices. If the 50% of Office A is 6 months for 10 applications and 12 months for 110 applications, then the weighted-average is 11.5 months (not 9 months).

Through these lenses, the latest was good, with performance improving. For all USCIS Field Offices:

  • The ‘50%’ was 9.8 months (against 11.9 months during the last 12 months);
  • The ‘93%’ was 22.6 months (against 24.2 months during the last 12 months).

What to expect in terms of performance?
We used averages of the last 12 months for this analysis.

Generally for the 50%, most USCIS Field Offices are in the 9 to 11.5 months. If yours is below that, you are lucky, and if it is above that, you are unlucky.

Generally for the 93%, most USCIS Field Offices are in the 20 to 25 months.

Are the busiest offices the slowest?
Generally, yes, especially when it comes to the ‘93%’. The following graph shows how all USCIS Field Offices are doing in terms of ‘50%’ (Low) and ‘93%’ (High), but we are showing the names of only the Top 10 USCIS Field Offices by volume (based on the number of Form I-485 adjudicated by the office). If you are on the top right hand side corner, it means that you are doing poorly on the ‘50%’ as well as the ‘93%’, and you can see that the top offices by volume are over represented there.

Form I-485 Processing Times per USCIS Field Office.

USCIS Field Office
Low
High
Ranking
Last 12 Months
Inquiry
Agana GU8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Albany NY8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Albuquerque NM8.525.563Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 10.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Anchorage AK8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Atlanta GA92970Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 17 / 35.5 monthsJan 9, 2018
Baltimore MD13.538.584Low: 9.5 / 18.5 months; High: 28 / 38.5 monthsMar 26, 2017
Boise ID8.525.550Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Boston MA721.515Low: 5.5 / 11 months; High: 13.5 / 28 monthsAug 30, 2018
Brooklyn NY12.531.585Low: 12.5 / 20 months; High: 22 / 35 monthsOct 31, 2017
Buffalo NY8.525.551Low: 8.5 / 12.5 months; High: 22 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Charleston SC103168Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 14 / 31 monthsNov 9, 2017
Charlotte Amalie VI8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Charlotte NC8.525.513Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 12.5 / 25.5 monthsMay 2, 2018
Chicago IL628.581Low: 6 / 14 months; High: 23.5 / 38.5 monthsFeb 1, 2018
Christiansted VI8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Cincinnati OH8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Cleveland OH8.525.559Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 30 monthsMay 2, 2018
Columbus OH8.525.525Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Dallas TX82364Low: 8 / 17 months; High: 19.5 / 25 monthsJul 17, 2018
Denver CO7.52372Low: 6.5 / 10.5 months; High: 21.5 / 39.5 monthsJul 14, 2018
Des Moines IA8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Detroit MI6.512.51Low: 6 / 8.5 months; High: 12.5 / 17.5 monthsMay 30, 2019
El Paso TX5.511.56Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 11.5 / 25 monthsJul 5, 2019
Fort Myers FL8.52753Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 27 monthsMar 15, 2018
Fort Smith AR8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Fresno CA610.52Low: 5.5 / 8 months; High: 10.5 / 23 monthsAug 2, 2019
Greer SC8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Harlingen TX6.5168Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 16 / 23.5 monthsFeb 17, 2019
Hartford CT10.522.567Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35 monthsJul 29, 2018
Helena MT8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Hialeah FL8.52377Low: 6.5 / 22.5 months; High: 18.5 / 31.5 monthsJul 8, 2018
Honolulu HI8.525.526Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Houston TX12.531.580Low: 10 / 17.5 months; High: 23.5 / 31.5 monthsNov 1, 2017
Imperial CA8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Indianapolis IN927.555Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 16.5 / 27.5 monthsFeb 26, 2018
Jacksonville FL8.525.562Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Kansas City MO6.523.523Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 20 / 26 monthsJul 2, 2018
Kendall FL1031.582Low: 8.5 / 20.5 months; High: 18 / 31.5 monthsNov 4, 2017
Las Vegas NV822.514Low: 8 / 14 months; High: 16.5 / 22.5 monthsJul 23, 2018
Lawrence MA7.52979Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 39.5 monthsJan 16, 2018
Long Island NY7.52776Low: 7 / 10.5 months; High: 21.5 / 36.5 monthsMar 18, 2018
Los Angeles CA7235Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 14 / 23 monthsJul 17, 2018
Los Angeles County CA8.52310Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 23 monthsJul 17, 2018
Louisville KY8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Manchester NH8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Memphis TN61119Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 11 / 25 monthsJul 16, 2019
Miami FL21.540.586Low: 8.5 / 23.5 months; High: 22.5 / 40.5 monthsFeb 1, 2017
Milwaukee WI8.525.549Low: 6.5 / 11 months; High: 18.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN821.573Low: 8 / 15.5 months; High: 13.5 / 31 monthsAug 29, 2018
Montgomery AL717.520Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 15 / 26 monthsDec 30, 2018
Mount Laurel NJ82216Low: 6 / 9.5 months; High: 15 / 30.5 monthsAug 12, 2018
Nashville TN8.525.599UnknownMay 2, 2018
Newark NJ1122.587Low: 12.5 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsJul 26, 2018
New Orleans LA8.525.557Low: 6.5 / 11.5 months; High: 14 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
New York City NY12.53288Low: 12.5 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsOct 12, 2017
Norfolk VA718.511Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 25 monthsNov 25, 2018
Oakland Park FL12.53483Low: 9 / 21 months; High: 23.5 / 34 monthsAug 12, 2017
Oklahoma City OK8.525.556Low: 5.5 / 11 months; High: 12.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Omaha NE8.525.561Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 12 / 25.5 monthsMay 2, 2018
Orlando FL9.52371Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 18 / 33 monthsJul 11, 2018
Philadelphia PA825.517Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 18 / 26 monthsApr 29, 2018
Phoenix AZ92974Low: 7.5 / 20 months; High: 19.5 / 29 monthsJan 6, 2018
Pittsburgh PA8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Portland ME8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Portland OR8.525.522Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Providence RI8.525.560Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 13.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Queens NY1026.565Low: 6.5 / 17.5 months; High: 21 / 28.5 monthsApr 4, 2018
Raleigh NC72718Low: 5.5 / 8 months; High: 17 / 30 monthsMar 14, 2018
Reno NV8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Sacramento CA11.522.512Low: 9 / 16 months; High: 16.5 / 22.5 monthsAug 3, 2018
Saint Albans VT8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Saint Louis MO8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Salt Lake City UT8.52152Low: 6.5 / 15.5 months; High: 15 / 25 monthsSep 18, 2018
San Antonio TX7.5159Low: 6 / 10 months; High: 11 / 27 monthsMar 8, 2019
San Bernardino CA6143Low: 6 / 7 months; High: 13.5 / 24 monthsApr 21, 2019
San Diego CA715.54Low: 6 / 8.5 months; High: 15.5 / 22 monthsFeb 26, 2019
San Fernando Valley CA71969Low: 7 / 17 months; High: 16.5 / 27 monthsNov 15, 2018
San Francisco CA112578Low: 11 / 19 months; High: 20 / 26.5 monthsMay 18, 2018
San Jose CA11.52158Low: 9.5 / 16 months; High: 16 / 27.5 monthsSep 17, 2018
San Juan PR8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Santa Ana CA9.520.554Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 16.5 / 27 monthsSep 22, 2018
Seattle WA17.526.575Low: 11 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 26.5 monthsApr 6, 2018
Spokane WA8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018
Tampa FL8197Low: 6.5 / 11 months; High: 17.5 / 24.5 monthsNov 20, 2018
Tucson AZ8.525.524Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 25.5 monthsMay 2, 2018
Washington DC1221.548Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 19 / 28 monthsAug 25, 2018
West Palm Beach FL103221Low: 7 / 10 months; High: 18 / 32 monthsOct 11, 2017
Wichita KS8.525.566Low: 8 / 11.5 months; High: 8.5 / 25.5 monthsMay 2, 2018
Yakima WA8.525.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22.5 / 26 monthsMay 2, 2018

  • ‘Low’ is the low-end of the range communicated by USCIS for the Field Office, expressed in ‘months’. It is the ‘best-case’ scenario. It means that USCIS makes a decision (following the Interview) on 50% of the filed I-485s within the ‘low’ number of months;
  • ‘High’ is the high-end, the ‘worst-case’ scenario, the time its takes USCIS to make a decision on 93% of I-485s it received.
  • If it takes longer for you than the ‘High’, then it means that the Receipt Date of your I-485 is before the ‘Case Inquiry Date’ and that you are allowed to get in touch with USCIS.
  • The data is refreshed and updated every morning (Eastern Time of the United States), because certain elements, such as the ‘Case Inquiry Dates’ are updated every day.
  • The data provided is exclusively for Family I-485 (not Employment).

Your Detailed I-485 Timeline.

What’s different about Form I-485 Processing Times?
Form I-485 is one of the few forms (along with Forms I-751, I-90, and N-400) to benefit from the new USCIS Processing Times methodology rolled out in April 2018, which means that:

  • They better reflect the time it takes applicants to get an answer on their I-485 (not USCIS ‘backlog’ like before);
  • They are updated more regularly (almost every month, compared to every 3 months before);
  • It communicates clearly, through the ‘Case Inquiry Date’, whether the applicant is allowed to get in touch with USCIS because it is taking too long.

Which immigration forms have new processing times?

Form I-485 (adjust status), Form I-751 (remove conditions on a two-year green card obtained though marriage), Form I-90 (renew a 10-year green cards), N-400 (naturalize to acquire U.S. citizenship).


Why the change?

The processing times displayed by USCIS have been unhelpful to applicants for years. The goal is to get relevant information to applicants.


Does that mean that USCIS will process applications faster?

Unfortunately the answer is no. USCIS changed the way they will communicate about their process in the future, but they have not changed the process itself.

What do the new processing times mean?

The processing times now display an ‘Estimated Time Range’ in months for each of the four forms, and for each USCIS Service Center and each USCIS Field Office. Here is an example for the Boston Field Office for all forms I-485 (family and employment):

USCIS General Processing Time

Our first recommendation is, when applicable, to look at the more specific range at the bottom of the page. Here, we will focus on family-based I-485s:

USCIS Family and Employment Processing Time

This means that, for family-based I-485s, starting with the date the I-485 is filed:

  • 50% of the I-485 are adjudicated within 7 months of their filing
  • 93% of the I-485 are adjudicated within 18 months of their filing

What about the ‘Case Inquiry Date’?

What USCIS is essentially saying is that, if you are part of the 7% that are beyond the high range of the processing times, you can get in touch with them through an ‘outside of processing time’ request. In the Boston Field Office, for family-based I-485s, you can submit a request if you submitted your I-485 before October 10th, 2016:

USCIS Case Inquiry Date


How often are the USCIS processing times updated by USCIS?

USCIS is updating the processing times every month (as opposed to every 3 months in the ‘old’ approach).

The Case Inquiry Date is said to be ‘rolling’: once the processing times are updated for a given month, the Case Inquiry Date progresses automatically by one day, every day.

What about the other forms, including Form I-130?

This is a ‘pilot’, so a trial based on which USCIS says they will gather feedback, adjust their methodology if need be, and then extend to other forms. The calendar associated with a broader rollout is not known.

The forms that are not part of the pilot are now displaying a range. The range is made of the old date and the old date + 30%. Because the ‘old’ date is still computed using the ‘old’ backlog-driven methodology, this is not an improvement as much as a vague attempt at managing applicants’ expectations.


What do the Processing Times released by USCIS for family I-485s tell you?

Immigration Planner identified the following USCIS Field Offices with the fastest (and ‘stable’) I-485 processing times. Last updated on February 25th 2020  (Will be updated again at the end of March / Beginning of April 2020 when USCIS updates it processing times)

  • Detroit MI
  • Fresno CA
  • San Diego CA
  • San Bernardino CA
  • Tampa FL
  • Los Angeles CA
  • El Paso TX
  • San Antonio TX
  • Sacramento CA
  • West Palm Beach FL

What do the Case Interview Dates released by USCIS for family I-485s tell you?

The ‘Case Inquiry Date’ is derived from the ‘high’ (or 93% completion). The issue here is that the ‘high’ can change from one month to the next, changing in turn the ‘Case Inquiry Date’. By how much? On average +/- 2.75 months every month for USCIS Field Offices.

What is Immigration Planner’s preliminary analysis of the new approach?

Like many, we are delighted that USCIS is tackling the processing time issue and we will certainly provide our feedback and the one of our community to USCIS. This is our current assessment:

  • The ‘Case Inquiry Date’ is an improvement, because it is clear and actionable by applicants.
  • Focusing more specifically on Form I-485, the new processing time range is an improvement but its impact is currently reduced by the following factors:
    • The filing date of Form I-485 for some applicants has been dictated by the ‘Filing Date’ of the Visa Bulletin, when the actual adjudication is guided by the ‘Final Action Date’ of the Visa Bulletin. As a result, it seems that the processing time range could be materially impacted by the fluctuations of the ‘distance’ between Filing and Action Dates.
    • The computations include the time associated with Request for Evidence (RFE) for applicants who receive one. The numbers would be more meaningful to applicants if processing times without RFE were known, and separate numbers associated with the impact of RFEs were communicated.
    • The computations are based only on last month’s completion. Such a small sample size might inflate volatility, although it is hard to say at this point.
  • The new ‘range’ using the ‘old’ methodology for forms not part of the pilot is not convincing at all. It is simply artificially broadening a range, acknowledging that the old approach lead applicants to be too optimistic because they misunderstood the data.
  • USCIS is using different percentages in different situation. For instance, the ‘personalized’ processing time accessible to applicants through myUSCIS will be based on the time it takes for 80% of the applications to be adjudicated. 80% is neither the 50% or the 93% that is used for USCIS Offices. We are not saying this is a bad idea, but the rationale behind the choice is not completely clear. Traditionally, USCIS would first communicate the average processing time for all applicants and then communicate the extent of the ‘dispersion’ around that average.