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 GU1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Albany NY1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Albuquerque NM1135.563Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 10.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Anchorage AK1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Atlanta GA12.54573Low: 6.5 / 12.5 months; High: 17 / 45 monthsNov 17, 2016
Baltimore MD1135.584Low: 9.5 / 18.5 months; High: 28 / 38.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Boise ID1135.551Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Boston MA1135.513Low: 5.5 / 11 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Brooklyn NY14.536.585Low: 12.5 / 19.5 months; High: 23 / 36.5 monthsAug 4, 2017
Buffalo NY1135.527Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 22 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Charleston SC1135.567Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Charlotte Amalie VI1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Charlotte NC1135.514Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Chicago IL938.581Low: 6 / 14 months; High: 23.5 / 38.5 monthsMay 26, 2017
Christiansted VI1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Cincinnati OH1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Cleveland OH1135.560Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Columbus OH1135.528Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Dallas TX9.53153Low: 8 / 15.5 months; High: 19.5 / 31 monthsJan 8, 2018
Denver CO1135.571Low: 6.5 / 11 months; High: 21.5 / 39.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Des Moines IA1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Detroit MI1135.52Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
El Paso TX1135.57Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 11.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Fort Myers FL1135.555Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Fort Smith AR1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Fresno CA8131Low: 5.5 / 8 months; High: 10.5 / 23 monthsJul 16, 2019
Greer SC1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Harlingen TX1135.58Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Hartford CT1135.566Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Helena MT1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Hialeah FL1135.577Low: 6.5 / 22.5 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Honolulu HI1135.529Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Houston TX123376Low: 10 / 17 months; High: 23.5 / 33 monthsNov 21, 2017
Imperial CA1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Indianapolis IN1135.556Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Jacksonville FL1135.562Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Kansas City MO1135.522Low: 5.5 / 11.5 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Kendall FL1135.580Low: 8.5 / 20.5 months; High: 25.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Las Vegas NV1135.515Low: 8 / 13.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Lawrence MA1135.578Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 39.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Long Island NY11.53675Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 21.5 / 36.5 monthsAug 7, 2017
Los Angeles CA1135.55Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Los Angeles County CA1135.512Low: 8 / 12 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Louisville KY1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Manchester NH1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Memphis TN1135.519Low: 5 / 11.5 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Miami FL1135.586Low: 8.5 / 23.5 months; High: 23.5 / 40.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Milwaukee WI1135.524Low: 6.5 / 11 months; High: 18.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Minneapolis-St. Paul MN1135.572Low: 8 / 14.5 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Montgomery AL1135.521Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Mount Laurel NJ1135.517Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Nashville TN1135.599UnknownAug 30, 2017
Newark NJ143487Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsOct 14, 2017
New Orleans LA1135.557Low: 6.5 / 11.5 months; High: 14 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
New York City NY1135.588Low: 11 / 21.5 months; High: 27 / 38 monthsAug 30, 2017
Norfolk VA1135.510Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Oakland Park FL14.53883Low: 9 / 20 months; High: 23.5 / 38 monthsJun 13, 2017
Oklahoma City OK1135.554Low: 5.5 / 11 months; High: 12.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Omaha NE1135.561Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 12 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Orlando FL1135.569Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Philadelphia PA1135.518Low: 6.5 / 11.5 months; High: 18 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Phoenix AZ1135.574Low: 7.5 / 19.5 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Pittsburgh PA1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Portland ME1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Portland OR1135.523Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Providence RI1135.558Low: 7 / 11.5 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Queens NY12.535.570Low: 6.5 / 17.5 months; High: 21 / 35.5 monthsSep 1, 2017
Raleigh NC1135.520Low: 5.5 / 11 months; High: 17 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Reno NV1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Sacramento CA1135.516Low: 9 / 16 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Saint Albans VT1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Saint Louis MO1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Salt Lake City UT1135.552Low: 6.5 / 15.5 months; High: 15 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Antonio TX1135.59Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 11 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Bernardino CA1135.53Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 13.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Diego CA1135.54Low: 6 / 11 months; High: 15.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Fernando Valley CA1135.568Low: 7 / 16.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Francisco CA1135.582Low: 11 / 18.5 months; High: 20 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Jose CA1135.565Low: 9.5 / 16 months; High: 16 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
San Juan PR1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Santa Ana CA1135.559Low: 9.5 / 13.5 months; High: 16.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Seattle WA1135.579Low: 11 / 19 months; High: 19.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Spokane WA1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Tampa FL1135.56Low: 6.5 / 11 months; High: 17.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Tucson AZ1135.526Low: 6 / 11.5 months; High: 13 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Washington DC1135.525Low: 9.5 / 12 months; High: 21.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
West Palm Beach FL9.52911Low: 7 / 10 months; High: 18 / 32 monthsMar 20, 2018
Wichita KS1135.564Low: 8 / 11.5 months; High: 8.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017
Yakima WA1135.530Low: 8.5 / 11.5 months; High: 23.5 / 35.5 monthsAug 30, 2017

  • ‘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.