New USCIS.GOV Website Review – Green Card Tracker

Finally, USCIS delivered! Now you have an official USCIS green card tracker.

The “pending I-485 data” posted on the new website is exactly what we have been waiting for. The i-485 inventory chart not only displays the total number of pending green card applications, but is broken down by priority date, preference category and country of origin. These three levels of details determine your position in the waiting line, and can give you a much better estimate of when your adjustment of status (green card) application will be processed.

1. Country of Origin

There are essentially five lines for employment-based green cards, separated by country of chargeability. The five lines are China, India, Mexico, the Phillipines, and All Other Countries (a.k.a. Rest of World – ROW). The monthly visa bulletin, which determines who is eligible for a visa number, releases visas based on chargeability. Historically China, India, Mexico and the Phillipines are “over-subscribed” countries, meaning there are more applicants from these countries than visa numbers available each year. As a result, these countries are tracked separately in the visa bulletin and USCIS’ i-485 inventory report.

2. Preference Category

Each of the five country-specific lines is further divided by preference categories. For example, EB-1 priority workers, EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees, EB-3 skilled workers, etc. The average waiting time for green card varies dramatically from one preference to another. USCIS did an excellent job by compiling and also presenting the data in the reports.

3. Priority Date

A priority date is when the green card process officially starts, which is usually the date when labor certification or I-140 is filed. Your priority date (PD) determines your position in the line, for your EB category and country of chargeability. This is the one piece of information that tells you exactly how many people are in front of you. USCIS breaks the total number of pending I-485 cases down to each month of a given year based on priority date.

How do I use the green card tracker?

Suppose you are from China, have a priority date of March 2007, and your immigrant petition is in EB2, you can see from the chart below that 786 applicants with a priority date in the same month and year as yours are waiting in line in the EB2 China category. You don’t have to know how many of the 786 people are in front you, because quite likely all of you will become eligible for a visa on the same day.

Now the more important question is how many people have a priority date earlier than yours. Again from the chart, you simply add up all the numbers before March 2007:

1 + 1 +2 + 13 + 20 + 35 + 123 + 4,084 + 8,581 + 743 + 671 = 14274

So there are a total of 14274 applicants from China in EB-2 category who are in front you in the waiting line for green card. You can’t find this level of detail and precision anywhere else.

How do I know when my green card will be approved?

Unfortunately you don’t know that yet, at least not accurately, since this is the first time USCIS published such report. USCIS plans to update the green card tracker every quarter. So after the next one, you will know how many people ahead of you (or behind you, for some reason) have received their green card or otherwise left the line. Comparing that with the Visa Bulletin, you will have a better idea of how much longer you have to wait for your turn.

Pending I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications based on Priority Date for China EB-2:

China EB2 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Grand Total
January 0 0 0 0 0 6 4 11 9 509 743 18 2 1,302
February 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 152 508 671 9 0 1,343
March 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 612 713 786 11 1 2,128
April 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 11 71 493 686 16 4 1,285
May 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 145 612 552 16 2 1,330
June 0 0 0 0 2 3 4 5 188 803 567 12 0 1,584
July 0 0 1 0 4 1 4 6 211 713 1,906 16 0 2,862
August 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 11 404 827 190 5 0 1,442
September 0 0 0 2 0 5 0 17 1,028 922 107 12 0 2,093
October 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 13 401 869 62 6 0 1,361
November 0 0 0 0 3 2 5 13 395 762 26 14 0 1,220
December 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 29 468 850 29 4 0 1,383
Total 0 1 1 2 13 20 35 123 4,084 8,581 6,325 139 9 19,333

59 thoughts on “New USCIS.GOV Website Review – Green Card Tracker”

  1. Thanks for the Article.

    So these dates are based on the applicants who started their Green Card (i.e Labor Process) ?

    I hope these dates are NOT the receipt dates of the Applicants who filed I-485 ?

    Can you be more clear on this ?

    Thanks a lot.

  2. My immgrant visa was approved in August 2009 I arrived in the U.S Sept. 6th 2009 how long do I have to wait for my greencard in the mail? or do I have to call some office?

  3. @agresta, it certainly can take a few weeks for your GC to arrive in the mail. You may call USCIS customer service (1-800-375-5283) if it takes too long or if you have questions.

  4. I have one question about this example here with EB2 and China: Currently (visa bulletin November 2009), the cutoff date for EB2 China is April 1, 2005 which means that everybody with a PD of March 2005 or sooner is current and can file for a GC immediately. In this example, this is a total number of 968 applicants. Why are they on this tracker? Aren’t they current and can file for a green card immediately, thus not needing to wait anymore??? Can you please clarify this? Thanks so much!

  5. The numbers shown in the table are pending I-485 applications, meaning that those applications have already been filed but not yet approved.

    PD needs to be current for both:
    1. filing I-485; and
    2. receiving I-485 approval (green card).

    Hope this helps.

  6. For China, India, Mexico and Phillipines, I see some numbers in the EB3 and EB2 categories for 2008 and 2009. If these numbers are the number of people who applied for AOS for that PD, how did they apply? As far as i know PDs in 2008 and 2009 have neve been current.

  7. Also, Why are there so many unapproved cases in 2002, 2003, 2004 when the current visa bulletin date for Eb2 is in 2005? Doesnt that mean that visas are being issued for 2005, which would mean that they have cleared everyone prior that that?

  8. Acer,

    Great questions. I think that those I-485 cases filed in 2008 and 2009 had something to do with visa cross-chargeability, meaning that although an applicant’s own PD was not current, his or her spouse came from a country for which visa number was available at that time. Hopefully USCIS will clarify this issue in the future because lots of people don’t understand how it could happen.

    Regarding older cases with priority dates in 2003 – 2004, it is not surprising. When a case’s PD is current, it is eligible for a visa number but it doesn’t guarantee 485 approval. I know a few people who just received green cards after their I-485 had been pending for quite a while even though their PD were current and FBI name checks had been cleared all this time.

    The much older cases could be anything. Abandoned, stuck in security checks, USCIS entry error, who knows. But there are really not many of them.

  9. Hi,

    My name is Shri, I am on EAD now and waiting for GC.

    My question is on EAD should I maintain same pay which I filled in Labor?

    Now I am short fall of $20K

    Please advise.


  10. Hi,
    Why EB3 is not moving at all? I think my finger print is expired. Can I make any initiation to re-new or I have to wait?


  11. I would guess that to make any useful predictions, we would also need to know how many cases are completed as well as how many new cases are submitted for processing during the time period between the release of each pending I-485 inventory.

  12. Hi,

    Im EB3-Phil. Can you please tell me the latest priority date of EB3-Phil that was approved? I heard it was 2005. My PD is July, 2005. Will my PD be current this year? Thanks


  13. hi,
    is there any problem if i’ll move to another place with the same position while im waiting for my GC? please advice tnx

  14. Jojoo72305:
    Please check out visa bulletin for visa cut-off dates.

    Nobody knows. It depends on your PD, country, EB…

    Relocation while GC pending should be consulted with a legal professional.

  15. I arrived on a SIV visa on the 9th of July 2010. How do i know whether my green card is already in the mail or not ?

  16. Hello, I am a refugee in the united states. I had my approval I-94 in August 2009 and travelled to the states same month. How long will I receive my GC and is it true that I will receive my ciizenship after 30 months from arrival ? Please let me know more details.

  17. I arrived in Chicago, Illinois last October 13, 2010 as an immgrant how long do I have to wait for my greencard in the mail? or do I have to call

  18. It can easily take a few weeks for the green card to arrive in the mail. If you prefer you can call USCIS national customer service and ask how much longer you are supposed to wait, or make an infopass appointment to speak with an IO directly. You are already a permanent resident when you enter with an immigrant visa, so unless you need the GC for immediate travel, you should be fine.

  19. That’s really great news. I have a few relatives in other countries who are trying to get their greencard — I’ll let them know about this website.

  20. Hi,
    my priority date is may 2009, i 140 approved ,waiting to file i 485.
    is there any chance for me this year to get ead or gc.?
    thank you.

  21. Sorry, i forgot to mention in my above Q ,

    I am from India and my Perm processing is under EB2

    Please reply me .

  22. India EB2 has a cutoff date of April 15, 2007 for next month. It is highly unlikely that it will advance to 2009 within this year. It takes a miracle for that to happen, like the July 2007 visa bulletin fiasco.

  23. Thanks for the reply .
    I have read that EB 2 applications are very few in the year 2008 & 2009 which might make my chances to get my EAD this year ! Please clarify.
    Thanks in advance.

  24. Yes, I have seen it before.But i felt there is something wrong with the tracker as it shows 22536 figure for any priority date you write on it ! Be it 2007 or 2009 PD in Eb2 or Eb3 or any date its the same number 22536 persons ahead of you. Why is it so ?

  25. That is because the visa bulletin cutoff dates for India EB2 and EB3 were severely retrogressed after July 2007, and nobody could file I-485 for a long time. As a result, the number doesn’t change – no new cases were allowed.

    Select a PD earlier than 7/2007 and you will see why.

  26. Thank you so much for your patient replies !
    I just wat with the fingers crossed hoping that half of those who are waiting to file I – 485 have returned back to India due to this recession ! :)) Hieghts of positive anticipation !


  27. I am the I-589 applicant.
    My case status post decision activity since 2000. I have work permit, social security card & filling the income tax return last 10 years. I should contact CSC-NCSC but never recieved proper response.

    Please tell me what can i do ?

  28. Hi,
    my i 140 approved on one company ,PD may 2009.
    If i would like to change my company & my new employer transfers H1 and willing to do PERM processing,will my old PD 2009 persists or will there be a new PD. How will this affect my getting GC at the earliest.
    Thanks in advance for all your support.

  29. Hi my husband send his I-601 (waver) september 2009 they told him it was going to take up to 15 months and we havent recived anything do u know what can we do i really need ur help its been 25 months now if u know anything please let me know thank you

  30. Hey,

    I was wondering if anyone has expierenced a wait time of 11 months for an I-130 to be aprroved. My case is way above the normal processing times and when i call they wont let do a service request anymore and all they tell me is to wait. Is there anything that i can do to speed the process up?

  31. Hi,
    My PD has become current under the EB3 category and I have been on AP for 3 years and already have an EAD as well for 3 Years. How long would it take to get the “physical greencard” by mail. As i have spoken to the lawyers and they say there is no paper work required from myside but just wait for the GC to come? Do you have any idea how long does that take?

  32. There may be additional paperwork if you receive RFE from USCIS, otherwise it would be just a waiting game. Hard to say when you will receive the green card, but since EB3 has been heavily backlogged and many cases may have been pre-adjudicated, you will want to contact USCIS if you still don’t hear anything after a few weeks. Infopass is worth a trip in my opinion. Also you may want to sign up for USCIS case status update via email, if you haven’t already done so. Good luck.

  33. Hi my
    PD date is Feb 2005 EB2, could you estimate a time line on when I can expect my green card.

    I have filed for my i-485 as date got current in the dec 2011 visa bulletin.

    Thank You


  34. Hi my
    PD date is Feb 2008 EB2 INDIA, could you estimate a time line on when I can expect my green card.

    I have filed for my i-485 as date got current in the dec 2011 visa bulletin.

    Thank You


  35. Many of the older cases have been pre-adjudicated by USCIS and are simply waiting for visa numbers. If yours is one of them that means you should get GC soon. However, in this business anything can happen, as you’re well aware. I think it is worth an infopass trip just in case something is holding it up.

  36. hi, ihav applied in eb3 others in october 2002 n i m still waiting. i want to know when i will get my turn on n i want to know is it possible to change a name with same order.

  37. I am checking this latest link from USCIS
    Here I see for EB-2 India, columns for years2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 are empty\blank. what that means? And by keeping in mind the current date= March-2008 for india. Can we assume the dates will move so fast and become current?? As no candidate is there in these years. Please explain in detail. Thanks a lot in advance.

  38. India EB2 cutoff dates were stuck for a few years but moved quickly in recent months, so people with newer PDs were just recently able to file I-485 and those cases will be counted in future inventories. There is no guarantee the trend will continue, however.

  39. I see that there are many applications in EB2 in 2011 like so far 5000+ applications. Only in Mar 2011 there are like 1167 applications which are equal to the whole 2009 year applications. Is that correct what i am looking at the figures here in the above link?

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