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 GU1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Albany NY1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Albuquerque NM1226.565Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 10.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Anchorage AK1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Atlanta GA2252.574Low: 6.5 / 12.5 months; High: 20 / 45 monthsJun 6, 2017
Baltimore MD122584Low: 9.5 / 18.5 months; High: 29.5 / 38.5 monthsSep 23, 2019
Boise ID1226.550Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Boston MA10.521.526Low: 5.5 / 14.5 months; High: 13.5 / 42 monthsJan 6, 2020
Brooklyn NY1843.585Low: 12 / 19 months; High: 23 / 36.5 monthsMar 8, 2018
Buffalo NY1226.524Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 22 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Charleston SC1226.566Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Charlotte Amalie VI1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Charlotte NC1226.514Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Chicago IL917.580Low: 6 / 14 months; High: 23.5 / 39 monthsMay 5, 2020
Christiansted VI1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Cincinnati OH1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Cleveland OH1226.560Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Columbus OH1226.527Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Dallas TX1218.558Low: 8 / 15 months; High: 19.5 / 35 monthsApr 19, 2020
Denver CO11.528.568Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 21.5 / 39.5 monthsJun 16, 2019
Des Moines IA1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Detroit MI9193Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsMar 26, 2020
El Paso TX8.5218Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 11.5 / 35.5 monthsJan 28, 2020
Fort Myers FL1226.552Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Fort Smith AR1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Fresno CA14.518.51Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 10.5 / 35.5 monthsApr 7, 2020
Greer SC1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Harlingen TX5.515.52Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsJul 14, 2020
Hartford CT1226.567Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Helena MT1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Hialeah FL71877Low: 6.5 / 22.5 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsMay 4, 2020
Honolulu HI1226.528Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Houston TX172476Low: 10 / 15.5 months; High: 23.5 / 38.5 monthsOct 27, 2019
Imperial CA1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Indianapolis IN1226.553Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Jacksonville FL1226.562Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Kansas City MO1226.523Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Kendall FL1022.579Low: 8.5 / 20.5 months; High: 25.5 / 35.5 monthsDec 7, 2019
Las Vegas NV1226.515Low: 8 / 13 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Lawrence MA1226.578Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 39.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Long Island NY11.52275Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 22 / 36.5 monthsDec 24, 2019
Los Angeles CA9.5235Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsNov 22, 2019
Los Angeles County CA923.512Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsNov 17, 2019
Louisville KY1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Manchester NH1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Memphis TN10.515.516Low: 5 / 12 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsJul 6, 2020
Miami FL10.53486Low: 8.5 / 23.5 months; High: 25 / 40.5 monthsJan 3, 2019
Milwaukee WI1226.522Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN12.521.564Low: 8 / 14 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsJan 7, 2020
Montgomery AL1226.521Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Mount Laurel NJ112417Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsNov 2, 2019
Nashville TN1226.599UnknownAug 16, 2019
Newark NJ12.526.587Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsAug 13, 2019
New Orleans LA1226.557Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
New York City NY10.535.588Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsNov 12, 2018
Norfolk VA1226.510Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Oakland Park FL112083Low: 9 / 18 months; High: 23.5 / 38 monthsMar 2, 2020
Oklahoma City OK1226.551Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Omaha NE1226.561Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 12 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Orlando FL13.523.569Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsNov 8, 2019
Philadelphia PA10.52013Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsFeb 28, 2020
Phoenix AZ10.52073Low: 7.5 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsFeb 24, 2020
Pittsburgh PA1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Portland ME1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Portland OR1226.520Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Providence RI1226.556Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 14.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Queens NY1335.572Low: 6.5 / 17.5 months; High: 21 / 35.5 monthsNov 13, 2018
Raleigh NC1226.518Low: 5.5 / 12 months; High: 17 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Reno NV1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Sacramento CA1226.519Low: 9 / 16 months; High: 17.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Saint Albans VT1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Saint Louis MO1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Salt Lake City UT1226.555Low: 6.5 / 15.5 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
San Antonio TX10.521.54Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsJan 8, 2020
San Bernardino CA12.520.57Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsFeb 18, 2020
San Diego CA11226Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsDec 24, 2019
San Fernando Valley CA112471Low: 7 / 16 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 23, 2019
San Francisco CA1941.582Low: 11 / 18 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsMay 6, 2018
San Jose CA15.52270Low: 9.5 / 16 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsDec 30, 2019
San Juan PR1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Santa Ana CA122159Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsJan 21, 2020
Seattle WA242881Low: 11 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsJul 1, 2019
Spokane WA1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Tampa FL11.521.59Low: 6.5 / 12 months; High: 17.5 / 35.5 monthsJan 14, 2020
Tucson AZ8.515.554Low: 6 / 12 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsJul 19, 2020
Washington DC1124.525Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 21.5 / 35.5 monthsOct 16, 2019
West Palm Beach FL1122.511Low: 7 / 12 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsDec 13, 2019
Wichita KS1226.563Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 8.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019
Yakima WA1226.529Low: 8.5 / 12 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 16, 2019

  • ‘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.