I-485 RFE Response Submitted: What’s Next?

As per my earlier post, USCIS issued many RFEs for pending employment-based I-485s (applications for adjustment of status, or green card applications) this summer in anticipation of the priority dates for those cases becoming current. We know that our clients and others have gone to significant lengths to timely respond to the RFEs, including contacting old employers for copies of previous immigration filings, obtaining painstakingly-drafted, original confirmation of employment letters, placing numerous service requests for RFEs not received, etc.

Now that the hard work of responding is done, what is the I-485 RFE response time?

No one can predict a precise timeline for approval and each case is different. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. The USCIS online case status system is sometimes correct, but sometimes not. Often USCIS will not update the online case status system at all, causing applicants to wonder if their RFE was even received. Other times it is updated, but with a cryptic message, such as your address having been changed in the system, when you did not submit an address change. This is tremendously frustrating. There is actually a place you can voice your frustrations and suggestions for change: http://www.uscisconnect.ideascale.com/. This is a USCIS Idea Community where you can “share your thoughts on our customer service tools,” per the website. I take no responsibility for any of the ideas actually being implemented, but you may want to check out the site. Until August 21, a featured topic is the USCIS online case status.
  2. USCIS typically says that it will take up to 60 days for a decision to be made on a case once the RFE response is received. Keep in mind that USCIS is processing thousands of these cases, so yours may or may not be one of the first ones they pick up.
  3. The September visa bulletin just came out yesterday, and the dates have advanced further even more for EB-2 India (June 15th, 2008). This takes some pressure off for the I-485 to be approved within the month of August (remember, the priority date must be current for the case to be approved).
  4. We have heard reports from other attorneys that clients have received email confirmation of approval, but these reports are not widespread. The take-away: you are not alone.

We are aware that many clients have waited years for the green card, and their life plans depend on the approval. We look forward to celebrating the approval with you soon, and hope the above information gives you a little sense of peace in the meantime.