To File Anew or Not? Filing Multiple I-485s

To File Anew or Not? Fili…

The November visa bulletin is out, and with it brings a flurry of questions about I-485 filing strategies! The top question we are receiving right now is: Can I file multiple I-485 applications? The EB-2 India priority dates for both final action and dates for filing advanced modestly. However the EB-3 priority dates retrogressed. This is likely the result of the thousands of EB-3 I-140 "downgrade" petitions filed last October. Many clients who filed an I-485 concurrently with their EB-3 I-140 petition last fall now have their priority date current in the EB-2 category, and are wondering how to best proceed.

We cannot give legal advice outside of a formal consultation or an attorney-client relationship, but here are some points to consider if you are wondering what to do next:

  • Your green card cannot be approved unless your priority date is current per the final action dates chart on the visa bulletin for that month.
  • If you have an I-485 pending with USCIS based on your EB-3 I-140 petition and now your priority date is current in the EB-2 final action dates, it is may be possible to ask USCIS to "interfile" the pending I-485. That means that you would ask USCIS to transfer the pending I-485 application to be attached to the EB-2 I-140, instead of the EB-3 I-140 petition.
    • There is no form to submit for this. That means that it can be a very frustrating process of repeatedly contacting USCIS by phone, letter, etc, to hope that they actually complete the interfiling, and on time.
    • In addition, once USCIS has completed the interfiling, if the EB-3 priority date becomes current per final action again, you would need to ask USCIS to interfile again. That is, the I-485 would be attached to either the EB-2 I-140, or the EB-3 I-140 petition, but not both at the same time.
  • Another option may be to file a second I-485 application (file multiple I-485s), tied to the EB-2 I-140 petition. There is no specific prohibition against this. However, you should note that when USCIS is ready to adjudicate your I-485, the officer may try to consolidate the files. That may mean that they would have to request your EB-3 I-485 from another office, which could delay the processing of the case. That may or may not happen and really depends on the officer adjudicating the case, among other factors. But it is something to consider. In addition, USCIS may ask you to withdraw one of the I-485s.
  • If your priority date is current per the dates for filing chart, but not per the final action date chart, and if you already have an I-485 application pending with USCIS, it may be of limited value to file a second I-485 application now. Certainly speak to a qualified immigration lawyer to decide on the best strategy for your particular case.

This is a complex situation, and the best strategy for you depends on the facts of your specific situation. The above information is for educational purposes, but cannot be used as legal advice. Instead, you must consult with a qualified immigration attorney.

If you need help navigating the immigration process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at info@sumnerimmigration.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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