What happens when my adjustment of status case reaches the National Benefits Center?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today’s question comes from Akash. Akash wants to know, “Hey Jim. My case just reached the National Benefits Center. What happens next?” That’s a really good question.
So when you file for adjustment of status, if it’s unemployment, or if it’s based on marriage, eventually your case, when you file it, first it gets sent to the lockbox.
You’re going to file that application on the address that the 45 tells you to. Depending on what state you live in, you’re going to send it to a different lockbox. When you file it with the USCIS, it’s assigned a case number, and then it takes a few weeks for the case to reach the National Benefits Center.
Once it reaches the National Benefits Center, it’s going to be under analysis by an immigration employee. They have a big stack of cases and when they get to yours, they’re going to open it up and they’re going to review what’s the basis of the I-485.
They’re going to see if there’s anything missing. If there’s anything missing, one of the main jobs of the National Benefits Center is to send you a request for evidence. So anything that’s missing, they’re going to do a lot of the processing before the case has to get set for interviews.
So they’re trying to narrow the issues to make sure that what happens at the interview is focused and limited to what they actually need to ask. And so they do a lot of the preliminary work at the National Benefits Center.
So they’ll send you a request for evidence, hey, or they might send you a checklist, hey, you’re going to need a medical. So make sure to bring it to the interview.
Or they might say, hey, you didn’t submit enough marital evidence. You need to send in some more. Or they might just flat out dismiss it. Or hey, it looks like you’re not legally eligible for this benefit. So they do a lot of the heavy lifting, a lot of the prescreening before it actually gets to the interview.
So right now cases can sit for many months at the National Benefits Center. Things are greatly backlogged. There’s frankly not enough resources being put into it by USCIS to process these, and of course, right now that’s on purpose.
They’re trying to slow down immigration. That makes them happy. So it’s a feature, not a bug. And that’s just sort of the way it is.
If you have questions about what happens at that point, what I can tell you is you’re going to be at the National Benefits Center for a while. Then once they’re satisfied, once they have everything, once you’ve fully responded to the request for evidence, they will then move the case along to the field office for an interview.
At the National Benefits Center, they also will process your applications for advanced parole and for a work card.
So that’s what the National Benefits Center does. And then they send it out. So if, let’s say you live in Idaho, you’re going to be sent to the local field office for your interview. But before then, it’s going to spend all that time at the National Benefits Center.
So Akash, I hope that answered your question. If you have questions about how things work at USCIS, or if you need help, give us a call, 314-961-8200.
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