Recent I-485 Filings: Trends and Tracking

In the past few months, it has been possible for many foreign nationals to advance to the final stage in the permanent residence (green card) process. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin has shown employment-based, second preference (EB2) cutoff dates for India and China to be moving forward significantly since November 2011. This development has created much excitement, with numerous applicants seeking insight into case processing trends and timeframes.

Check Processing Trends in MurthyForum

Many individuals are willing to share their key case details to help others through the immigration process. The MurthyForum is a way to share this type of data and keep your finger on the pulse of current trends. Participants in our forum have begun specific threads for visa bulletin months, so that, for example, those with priority dates that became current in January 2012 can check the progress of their cases against how others’ cases are moving.

MurthyForum members share helpful information regarding the timing of receipt notices, fingerprinting notices, employment authorization document (EAD) and advance parole (AP) issuance. Of course, some who filed a bit earlier are able to post information about approvals and card production confirmations. MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers are encouraged to check out this online community. One can browse freely, but to participate and contribute to the conversations on the MurthyForum, registration (at no cost) is required.

Many I-485s Currently Processed Within Months

There is currently a very clear trend toward rapid I-485 case processing. This begins with the issuance of receipt notices almost immediately upon filing, and the fingerprinting notices follow early in the process. EAD and AP approvals typically are received well in advance of the 90 days the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is allowed for processing these benefits. While it would be unwise to make plans that rely on receiving the EAD and/or AP rapidly, at this time, they are often in hand within 60 days of filing, and sometimes even earlier.

Finally, the much anticipated I-485 approval notices are arriving daily. While total processing time varies from filing to approval, it often takes less than five months. Individuals should not become overly concerned if they see others who have cases moving a bit more quickly. Cases are neither all processed in a completely uniform manner, nor at the same pace. There are differences from one USCIS service center to another, as well as numerous other factors that contribute to variation in the time each case takes to process.


The USCIS is doing a remarkable job, quickly moving through each step in the I-485 case process. This is particularly noteworthy, given the volume of I-485 cases now eligible for filing and adjudication due to the movement of the cutoff dates. This is good news for those who have been able to file in the past few months. Applicants with concerns regarding how such approvals may impact other aspects of their lives, such as marriage plans or employment changes, should consult with a qualified immigration attorney. The Murthy Law Firm is available to help with I-485 related issues, strategy and planning.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.