The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published answers to a list of FAQs related to pending employment-based (EB) adjustment of status applications (form I-485). The FAQs give data on steps the USCIS is taking to maximize the utilization of employment-based immigrant visa numbers for the fiscal year 2022, which goes through 30th September 2022. Also, the published list includes practical instructions for I-485 candidates expecting to get lawful permanent resident status before the end of the fiscal year. A summary of some of the key points is given here for the benefit of readers.
Steps Taken to Maximize Use of Employment-Based Visa Numbers
The USCIS lists various steps taken to use as many of the employment-based immigrant visa numbers available for the ongoing fiscal year as possible. A portion of these steps include:
- Applying risk-based interview waiver determinations for EB I-485 applications brings about most applications being adjudicated without an interview
- Prioritizing the adjudication of underlying immigrant visa petitions (e.g., Form I-140). For beneficiaries who might get immigrant visas during the ongoing fiscal year
- Reusing biometrics for specific I-485 candidates
- Establishment of another process and a dedicated single mailing address for interfiling requests
- Proactively recognizing applications that lack a valid report of medical examination and vaccination record (form I-693) and giving requests for proof (RFEs) in those cases
- Temporarily waiving the requirement until the end of the ongoing fiscal year. That the civil surgeon sign the form I-693 no more than 60 days before the candidate files the I-485 application
Advice for I-485 Adjustment Applications Who Filed Without Submitting Form I-693
If a foreign nation filed an I-485 application without a form I-693. The USCIS advises against presenting the medical report until the USCIS contacts the candidate to request it. The USCIS noticed, that if an I-693 is submitted unsolicited. It probably would be difficult to match the I-693 with the individual’s pending I-485 application. If a foreign national submitted an I-485 without including the I-693 and the individual’s need date is current. The USCIS suggests that the individual proactively get the signed I-693 from a civil surgeon but wait for the USCIS will give an RFE on the medical report and then promptly submit it. Note that, if the I-485 has already been filed, the I-693 generally remains valid for 2 years from the date it is signed by the civil surgeon.
Transferred Files and Processing Times
The USCIS clarifies that, if an individual gets a notification indicating the I-485 has been transferred. This generally means the case is “moving toward adjudication”. Conversely, if an individual has not yet received such a notification, the USCIS takes note that these efforts are continuous.
Additionally, the USCIS recognizes that numerous candidates are worried about the lengthy processing times. Indicated on the USCIS site for I-485 applications pending at the Texas Service Center (TSC) and the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). As explained by the USCIS, however, this mainly is a product of having moved a significant number of these cases. To the National Benefits Center, leaving a disproportionate number of outlier cases at the TSC and NSC.
With a couple of months left of the current fiscal year, the expectation is that the USCIS will speed up its processing of all pending I-485 applications. Meanwhile, those with pending I-485 applications should keep a close watch for any other. USCIS instructions on the steps necessary to complete the adjudication process.