FAQ Topic: What to do after your I-485 is approved.

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions – I-485 FAQ' started by ETA-GC, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. ETA-GC

    ETA-GC Registered Users (C)

    So you (and possibly your spouse and kids) have had your I-485's approved. Congratulations on becoming Permanent Residents!

    But now what?

    What's the next step?

    You need to make an appointment to get your passport stamped through INFOPASS at https://infopass.uscis.gov/infopass.php.


    You will also need the Identification Number for the appointment if you need to cancel it later on. This number appears near the bottom of the printout.

    The zip code that you specify will determine the service center that you are directed to (as I understand it, you can make an INFOPASS appointment for any location although some have reported needing to show ID that proves they live in that area).

    Select the option which says

    Don't use the other options. Otherwise you could end up with an appointment on a day when the office doesn't do passport stamping.

    Apparently, many centers now refuse to accept walk-ins (people without an appointment) so I wouldn't chance that.

    It might be possible to make an appointment over the phone – I’m not sure.

    How many appointments do I need? Can I do just one for my entire family?

    You need a separate appointment for every family member who is being stamped. If you don’t have these you *might* be admitted (or not) but at most centers you will have to wait hours until the people who actually have appointments are cleared.

    When should I make the appointment?

    Since you need them, it’s “safest” to wait until you get the approval notice(s) in the mail. But, since these usually arrive within 1-2 weeks of the actual approval date, you can take a chance and make an appointment for, say, 2 weeks from the approval date. If you don't get the approvals by then, you can cancel the appointment and reschedule.

    This probably varies a lot, but typically, appointments are available for dates which are about 1-2 weeks away.

    What if I need to travel before I can attend an INFOPASS appointment?

    Apparently, if you absolutely need to travel outside of the US before it will be possible to obtain / attend an INFOPASS appointment, you might be able to get stamped by showing them your travel information (e.g. airplane ticket). I can't confirm this but I believe some people have done this.

    Note that traveling prior to getting stamped is somewhat risky as, at the time of your approval, any AP that you have or H / L status etc. is immediately invalidated. That said, I've contacted a couple of lawyers about this (including murthy through one of their chat sessions) and they feel that the risk of having problems is actually pretty low. They feel that either they wouldn’t check / notice that you are approved or, if they did notice, that they could parole you into the US at their discretion to complete your I-551 process. Personally, I would do everything possible to get stamped before leaving.

    Also, note that if you are *outside* the US at the time of the approval there should *definitely* be no problem getting back in if you had valid AP / H / L *before* you left.

    I can't get an INFOPASS appointment -- it keeps saying that there are no appointments available at this time. What do I do?

    Keep trying...

    Some people have suggested trying during "off-peak" hours:

    +late evenings / early mornings
    +just past midnight
    +between 5pm and 6pm (this is when I finally got through)

    If you are doing more than one appointment (per the above, you need separate appointments for every family member who needs stamping), you may need to wait 30+ minutes before the system will accept additional appointments. Or, you can do this from a computer with a different IP...

    According to another post:

    What kind of photos do I need?

    You need to bring 2 passport-style (front facing) photos. It's possible that your approval notice will direct you to bring the old ADIT style (side facing) photos -- ignore that, ADIT style photos are now obsolete.

    You will need photos for you, your spouse and any kids who are old enough (>14?) to require stamping (see below).

    It will speed things up a bit if you take a pencil and lightly write each person’s name and alien number (A#) on the back of each of the photos.

    What else do I need to bring?

    You should bring all of the following:

    +your mailed approval notice (I-797C)
    +your INFOPASS appointment printout
    +H / L visa w. I-94’s
    +your passport
    +2 passport style photos per person getting stamped (see above)
    +ID (e.g. drivers license)

    Some have been told that you don’t really need to bring the H / L visa / EAD / AP. Personally, if there's anything else that you think they might possibly want -- why not bring it just in case? It would be pretty annoying to have to get another appointment because you left some form at home…

    Can I get stamped with just a printout of the online approval notice?

    No. You generally need the I-797C (your mailed approval notice) to be stamped.

    What about my kids -- do they need to be stamped?

    It depends. Kids who are less than about 12 years old (maybe 14) don't *need* to be stamped / fingerprinted and they should receive their green card automatically. They apparently use the photos from the I-485 application (which probably used the old ADIT style in many cases fwiw) and there won't be any fingerprint on the card (not needed apparently). You *can* have the kids stamped if you want, e.g. if they need to travel before the physical cards arrive. In that case, make an appointment for the kids and get their passport stamped (you *need* to do this for older kids and for them you'll need to bring passport-style photos and they'll be fingerprinted like you [and your spouse]).

    In our case, the status for my kids' cases changed to "Card Ordered" the day after we were approved. I expect we'll have their cards before my wife and I even get stamped.

    What if my passport is close to expiring?

    They will stamp your passport only if the passport is valid for at least a year from the stamping date.

    Otherwise, you will need to bring an additional passport-style photo with you (for a total of 3). The officer at the Service Center will create a temporary card using an I-94 form, affix the additional photo to it, and stamp the card. This is equivalent to the stamping that they usually do in the passport and it is valid for a year. Should you renew your passport (through your country or your country's consulate) you will not need get re-stamped.

    What if the stamp expires before I receive the card?

    This is unlikely to happen since many people are getting their cards within 2-4 weeks of stamping and stamps last for 1 year.

    However, if your stamp does expire before you receive the physical card, you have to follow the same steps and get your stamping renewed on your passport (if you want to maintain proof of your PR status).

    What is this stamp anyway?

    The I-551 (ADIT) stamp in your passport is temporary proof that you can use to show that you are a permanent resident until your physical card (the green card) arrives. You can use this to travel outside of the US for example.

    It's good for 1 year.

    Do I really need to get stamped?

    Yes (with the exception of minor children as mentioned above). At the time of the stamping you supply the USCIS with the passport style photos and fingerprints which are needed to complete the manufacture of the plastic card.

    How long does it take for the card to show up after stamping?

    It varies. I've seen some people get them in < 2 weeks. Others have had to wait for several months. This is rare from what I can tell, but occasionally, you may need to ask them to re-order the card if it doesn't show up after 3+ months or so…

    Note that if you have set up an online portfolio at the USCIS, the status for your I-485 case will probably change to "Card Ordered" at some point after getting the stamp done (and you will receive emails if you have that set up). I'm not sure if that is always the case though.

    What about my SSN card?

    Unless you have an older SSN card, it will probably have something like "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION." stamped on it. As a PR, this no longer applies to you and you will probably want to get a new card at some point. You can do this at any SSN office as far as I know and you can do this whenever you want. Some of these offices might be located near the service center where you are being stamped, so it might be convenient to do this right after getting the stamp. You just need to show them your I-551 stamp (or your green card if you have that). They'll take your card and send you a new, unrestricted one (with the same SSN) about 2 weeks later.

    To find the nearest SSN office to your location (based on your zip) try this link: http://www.ssa.gov/replace_sscard.html.

    Thanks to everyone who provided information for this FAQ!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2005
  2. lastminute

    lastminute Registered Users (C)

    Great work!. Thanks.
  3. GC2101

    GC2101 Registered Users (C)


    Hi ETA-GC

    You did a great job for summarizing all the FAQ after 485 approvals.


  4. Wishes&Luck

    Wishes&Luck Registered Users (C)

    GC stamping


    Thanks a lot for putting all the information together this is really useful. Do i have to wait for the original approval letter from lawyer or I can go with the courtesy copy sent to me by INS ?

    Also Once they stamp your passport do they keep the original 1485 approval notice with them ?


    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2005
  5. sobhzee

    sobhzee New Member

    Just an FYI. In Chicago they accept one Infopass appointment for the whole 'family'. They just write down the # of family members on the infopass appointment sheet. Infact the Officer was very happy we took just 1 appointment for the whole family.
  6. northeast

    northeast Registered Users (C)

    Question about the "courtesy" copy of I-485 approval notice

    Great information!! Thanks.

    I wonder if anyone has experience with the following question: I received a "courtesy" copy of my I-485 approval notice and made an InfoPass appointment to get my passport stamped. The "official" copy is supposed to be mailed to my attorney but he hasn't got it yet. Will the USCIS office in Charlotte, NC accept the "courtesy" copy? My attorney said they may or may not. I could take a chance, but it is 8 hours driving within a day ...
  7. prayforgc

    prayforgc Registered Users (C)

    I did passport stamping in Charlotte,NC with my courtesy copy in Nov. 2004, and everything went fine...
  8. northeast

    northeast Registered Users (C)

    Thanks a lot for your response, prayfrogc. I think I will give it a shot. How long did it actually take you for the stamping process? Was there interviewing involved? Thanks.

    Just to share my info in case it is helpful for anyone:

    RD 11/12/2002
    FP 11/1?/2004 (forgot exact date)
    AD 1/3/2005
  9. B747400

    B747400 Registered Users (C)

    Moving homes after stamping prior to receiving cards

    Question for anyone with similar predicament or someone who is in the know,

    My wife and I had our passports stamped 3 weeks ago and have to move out of our house (no choice here).

    Is calling the 1-800 number and letting them know of the change of address enough or do we have to go through the AR-11 process?

    Are the BCIS mailings marked 'forwarding service not requested' ? We are hoping that the post office re-direction will help in getting our cards.

    Once again your comments/advise keeping in mind that moving home is a necessity.
  10. mswarup

    mswarup New Member

    URGENT Gurus can you help?

    My 485 is approved and I plan to schedule the interview. I live in NJ and my office is in New York. Can I schedule my interview in New York though my home is in NJ? Any experiences?

    Thank you in advance.
  11. nsc030104

    nsc030104 Registered Users (C)

    Deadline to get the stamping

    I am currently outside US on business. If I get my I-485 approved unexpectedly, is there a deadline before which one should get the stamp? I am scheduled to return to the US only after 7 weeks.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2005
  12. pb74

    pb74 Registered Users (C)

    How long does it take for the card to show up after stamping?

    If you have set up an online portfolio at the USCIS, the status for your I-485 case will probably change to "Card Ordered" at some point after getting the stamp done (and you will receive emails if you have that set up). After some days (possibly within a week) the status will change to "Card Mailed". From this point, the card should arrive within 2 weeks.
  13. clearwater

    clearwater Registered Users (C)

    First of all let me congratulate you... I remembered reading somewhere in the forums that within one year of approaval you should get stamped. Anyway you are planning in next 7 weeks, so you should be fine, don't worry.
  14. clearwater

    clearwater Registered Users (C)

    I got approaval thru' Nebrasca service center, it seems they are taking atleast three months before ordering cards... any ideas?
  15. PhillyJulyLC

    PhillyJulyLC Registered Users (C)

    when to expect card ordered

    About a week after stamping, I saw LUD on our I-485s and I-765s(? !) with no message change. I know they have received our stuff. According to your experience, how soon after stamping did you see the card ordered? Please share if you can. Thanks!
  16. adgwlgc

    adgwlgc Registered Users (C)

    Do you need any Form or DD for Immigration Visa Stamping(485 approved)

    Hi All

    This is really a good set of information. I just want to make sure in addition to the document listed here, do we need any form to be filled up or any DD for visa fees is required. My I-485 got approved. I have setup a Infopass appointment. I am going to Dallas, TX (any experinces? Please share) .

    Please let me knoiw
  17. PhillyJulyLC

    PhillyJulyLC Registered Users (C)

    No form to fill out and there's no charge. Make sure to have the newly required passport photos.
  18. snsk

    snsk New Member

    How does the steps after 485 approval changes with the new biometric procedure?
  19. Akash Sharma

    Akash Sharma Registered Users (C)

    Travelling on stamping

    I received 485 approval email now planning to go for stamping sometime next week. I have also booked my tickets for India, original plan to travel on AP but now my AP is invalid.
    Can I travel on stampling only?
    Do I still need British visa if I am travelling London by Air Inda?
    I was trying to fill online application for british visa, there are 2 questions- Do you have visa or permit to enter this country (for India) ? and same question for USA. What should I mention here? Since I am holding Indian passport there is no sense for this question and now my AP is invalid I do not have visa or permit for USA but I will have gc stamping on my passport.

    Anybody has any experience travelling on stamping only? Please advice me.

  20. dasmsu

    dasmsu Registered Users (C)

    485 approved - question about i-94

    My 485 was approved on May 16th. I made an appointment with Info pass for 1st of June.
    I do not know which i-94 should I give.
    I've had 2 h1bs and did not leave the country since my last one.
    Also my 2nd h1b expired while applying for perm residense.
    My laywer has it and can't get in touch with him.
    I am concern I wont get stamped. Going crazy here!
    thanks a lot

Share This Page