Most EB Form I-485 Cases at the NSC and TSC Will be Transferred to NBC
According to a recent practice update from AILA, as of February 17, 2022 USCIS-HQ has directed the Nebraska and Texas Service Centers to cease adjudication of all EB Form I-485 cases other than 4th preference petitions (religious workers, special immigrant juveniles, etc.) and that said petitions will be transferred to the National Benefits Center. The adjustment is an effort on USCIS’ part to reallocate all other EB-based Form I-485 Officers and resources to adjudicate and eliminate the Form I-140 backlog. Transfer notices will be issued for Form I-485 applicants and attorneys of record once the application has been sent to NBC for continued adjudication.
All EB Form I-485 cases currently with officers will continue to be adjudicated at NSC or TSC along with Requests for Evidence (RFEs) that have been issued. AILA members are reporting that they have started to receive transfer notices for their client’s I-485 applications along with its online case status update. AILA reports that this is a long-term jurisdictional change directed by USCIS-HQ, and NSC, TSC and NBC are all in the process of implementing it. AILA’s Case Assistance Liaison committee reached out to USICS to request additional guidance with the transfer process and was informed of the following:
With regards to the scope and duration of the processing change the Service Center expects to have a standing shipment schedule to send visa available EB I-485s with approved I-140s for which biometrics have been collected and security checks have been initiated to FOD for final adjudication for FY-2022.
Cases that will continue to be adjudicated and TSC or NSC are classified as “Live cases” which include those cases the center has already begun review and may have taken action such as when an RFE was issued that is awaiting a response. Centers may relocate such cases to FOD when responses or other pre-processing is completed. I-485s that are concurrently filed with Form I-140 will also be relocated after approval of the Form I-140 when a visa is available. For cases where the visa has regressed, applicants will have to send a transfer request in writing to have their I-485s transferred from one category to another.
EB cases transferred to the NBC will be relocated to field offices for final adjudication which may include an interview. There are some cases that may be final adjudicated at the NBC if the case has been interview waived and previously reviewed for eligibility.
When asked about the prospect of additional staff, training, and or other resources that will be provided to NBC USCIS replied that because these cases are not receiving pre-processing by the NBC, but are being accepted from TSC and NSC and are immediately made available for the Field Offices to order, there is no need for additional staff or processing for NBC staff.
Lastly, USCIS reiterated that its top priority are EB -I-485 adjudications and as result, USCIS expects to utilize a significant number of the available FY22 visas.
If you believe that you might be currently eligible to file your Form I-485 adjustment of status application please contact an experienced immigration attorney.
By: Juanita Deaver
Juanita Deaver is a Staff Attorney in the I-140 and AOS Department, where she assists clients in the middle and later stages of the green card process.
Juanita earned her J.D. from South Texas College of Law Houston in May 2021. As a law-student, Juanita interned at a non-profit organization where she discovered her passion for immigration while working on family-based cases helping file I-130 petitions and I-485 adjustments of status. During her time at South Texas, she further pursued her interest in the field of immigration law through enrollment in the school’s Immigration Clinics where she worked on TPS, T visas, and DACA cases. Her experience working with families and clients in emergency situations has provided Juanita the tools and experience to provide clear and concise explanations to the seemingly daunting immigration process.
Juanita joined Reddy & Neumann as a law clerk in December 2019. While clerking, she gained valuable experience by working closely under attorneys from each of the firm’s departments on drafting successful requests for evidence, appeals, motions to re-open, and through legal research on immigration matters. Juanita understands that every case is unique and hopes to provide each client with a better understanding of the ever-changing immigration process.