I-485 applications are processed at various United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices and processing centers around the United States. Form I-485 can be filed immediately once USCIS has confirmed receipt of the EB-5 immigrant investor’s I-526 petition, and a copy of the Form I-797C, Notice of Approval, must accompany the petition. Because members of the public cannot access processing centers, where the petition is processed is less important than where it should be filed.
The filing location depends on the basis for filing the I-485 petition and the petitioner’s place of residence. The most up-to-date information about filing an adjustment of status based on an I-526 petition is listed on the USCIS website’s “Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-485” page. Applicants can also find the filing guidelines in the “Where to File” section of the “Form I-485” page on the USCIS website.
Investors cannot submit petitions and forms to USCIS in person. Per the USCIS website, “We do not provide in-person services at service centers. We may schedule an appointment at a local office or Application Support Center (ASC) if we need to interview you, take your fingerprints, or process your case.” This lack of in-person service applies to all service centers.
Instead, investors must submit hard copies of their I-485 petitions using the relevant USCIS lockbox. A lockbox facility is operated by a service provider that collets documents, processes filing fees, and rejects or accepts applications and petitions based on rules related to the associated fees. Petitions are not adjudicated at these centers. If a lockbox facility rejects a petition or form, it is usually because of an error related to the fees.
To prevent processing delays, the petitioner should confirm which lockbox facility they should submit their forms to. Additionally, they should work with an EB-5 immigration attorney to prepare their application.