It's been a long and tedious journey, but I finally got the email approval notice for my I-485. For those interested in the details of my case, here they are:
- Arrived in the US in 1995 with J1.
- Had to waive J1 2-year residence restriction because of error in application.
- Switched to H1b in 1997.
- Applied for 1-140 EB1 in 1999.
- Denied in 01/2000, appeal denied.
- Applied for certification of labor 09/2000, approved 09/2002.
- Applied for concurrent I-140/I485, category EB3 and EAD, AP 12/2002.
- 1st FP 02/2003.
- Laid off 03/2003 with seven-months severance.
- I-140 approved 05/2003.
- 1st EAD, 1st AP approved 05/2003.
- New job 10/2003.
- 2nd EAD, 2nd AP approved 05/2004.
- RFE replied 06/2004.
- 2nd FP: 07/2004.
- Case status inquiry 10/2004, no reply.
- Case status inquiry 11/2004, "cases prior to current processing dates are being reassessed, please allow sufficient time".
- I-485 approved 12/02/2004.
From beginning to end, my green card application process took about six years, and a lot of gray hair.
My two cents on my experience. USCIS, and CSC are still working in an unpredictable pattern, but it was worse one or two years ago. They seem to have improved their system, but cases like mine fell through the cracks in the meantime. I believe that they are trying to catch up with the backlog they've accumulated since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Arm yourself with a lot of patience. It can be frustrating at times, but step away from the computer and take a deep breath. Fretting over something we don't have any control over doesn't work, harrassing USCIS with multiple case status inquiries doesn't work, sending letters to congress persons or senators doesn't work. All cases will be processed. When ? There's no way to tell, but it will be processed. Be patient.
I found this site extremely helpful, but also very stressful. I did best when I wasn't reading posts every day, but only once in a while. Everything in moderation, I guess.
Good luck everyone.