USCIS Processing Times for Form I-485 | September 2020

When were the I-485 Processing Times last updated?

USCIS last updated the ‘50%’ and ‘93%’ data for all USCIS Field Offices on August 25th, 2020.

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 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 GU142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Albany NY142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Albuquerque NM142765Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 10.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Anchorage AK142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Atlanta GA1630.574Low: 6.5 / 12.5 months; High: 20 / 45 monthsJul 20, 2018
Baltimore MD1525.584Low: 9.5 / 18.5 months; High: 29.5 / 38.5 monthsDec 16, 2018
Boise ID142750Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Boston MA113026Low: 5.5 / 14.5 months; High: 13.5 / 42 monthsJul 26, 2018
Brooklyn NY183685Low: 12 / 19 months; High: 23 / 36.5 monthsJan 27, 2018
Buffalo NY142724Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 22 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Charleston SC142766Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Charlotte Amalie VI142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Charlotte NC121914Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsJul 5, 2019
Chicago IL1429.580Low: 6 / 14 months; High: 23.5 / 39 monthsAug 18, 2018
Christiansted VI142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Cincinnati OH142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Cleveland OH142760Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Columbus OH142727Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Dallas TX1429.558Low: 8 / 15 months; High: 19.5 / 35 monthsAug 19, 2018
Denver CO112968Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 21.5 / 39.5 monthsAug 25, 2018
Des Moines IA142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Detroit MI14273Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
El Paso TX14278Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 11.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Fort Myers FL142752Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Fort Smith AR142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Fresno CA1422.51Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 10.5 / 35.5 monthsMar 14, 2019
Greer SC142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Harlingen TX14272Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Hartford CT1419.567Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsJun 17, 2019
Helena MT142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Hialeah FL1221.577Low: 6.5 / 22.5 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsApr 18, 2019
Honolulu HI142728Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Houston TX15.527.576Low: 10 / 15.5 months; High: 23.5 / 38.5 monthsOct 14, 2018
Imperial CA142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Indianapolis IN1230.553Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsJul 19, 2018
Jacksonville FL142762Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Kansas City MO142723Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Kendall FL121879Low: 8.5 / 20.5 months; High: 25.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 8, 2019
Las Vegas NV131815Low: 8 / 13 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 9, 2019
Lawrence MA142778Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 39.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Long Island NY1531.575Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 22 / 36.5 monthsJun 19, 2018
Los Angeles CA13.5295Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 26, 2018
Los Angeles County CA14.53112Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsJun 25, 2018
Louisville KY142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Manchester NH142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Memphis TN142716Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Miami FL142786Low: 8.5 / 23.5 months; High: 25 / 40.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Milwaukee WI142322Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsMar 2, 2019
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN14.52464Low: 8 / 14 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsJan 29, 2019
Montgomery AL1017.521Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 22, 2019
Mount Laurel NJ10.51917Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsJul 4, 2019
Nashville TN10.52899UnknownSep 30, 2018
Newark NJ1623.587Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsFeb 22, 2019
New Orleans LA142757Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
New York City NY1433.588Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsApr 11, 2018
Norfolk VA142710Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Oakland Park FL15.53183Low: 9 / 18 months; High: 23.5 / 38 monthsJun 28, 2018
Oklahoma City OK132051Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsJun 3, 2019
Omaha NE142761Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 12 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Orlando FL1520.569Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsMay 11, 2019
Philadelphia PA14.53413Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsApr 7, 2018
Phoenix AZ141873Low: 7.5 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsJul 31, 2019
Pittsburgh PA142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Portland ME142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Portland OR13.52220Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsMar 27, 2019
Providence RI142756Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 14.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Queens NY16.54372Low: 6.5 / 17.5 months; High: 21 / 35.5 monthsJun 27, 2017
Raleigh NC10.52818Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 17 / 35.5 monthsOct 4, 2018
Reno NV142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Sacramento CA142719Low: 9 / 16 months; High: 17.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Saint Albans VT142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Saint Louis MO142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Salt Lake City UT142755Low: 6.5 / 15.5 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
San Antonio TX11.524.54Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsJan 13, 2019
San Bernardino CA12.5297Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 25, 2018
San Diego CA14276Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
San Fernando Valley CA1429.571Low: 7 / 16 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 13, 2018
San Francisco CA142782Low: 11 / 18 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
San Jose CA142770Low: 9.5 / 16 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
San Juan PR142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Santa Ana CA1522.559Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsMar 23, 2019
Seattle WA142781Low: 11 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Spokane WA142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Tampa FL11.515.59Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 17.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 20, 2019
Tucson AZ142754Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Washington DC1518.525Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 21.5 / 35.5 monthsJul 15, 2019
West Palm Beach FL1219.511Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsJun 12, 2019
Wichita KS142763Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 8.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 2018
Yakima WA142729Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 30, 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 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.