On March 29, 2022, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced additional measures to reduce case backlogs, expand premium processing, and provide relief to those seeking immigration benefits. Read more about their efforts here.
Why are these measures needed?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has seen a significant increase in processing times and case backlogs. This has led to significant processing delays and wait times for applicants to receive benefits including non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas, and work authorization. These measures are necessary to clear up backlogs and provide more consistent case processing.
What has USCIS done to reduce processing backlogs for pending cases?
In an effort to reduce processing backlogs for already pending cases, USICS has established “New Cycle Time Goals.” The new cycle time goals are expected to improve processing times and case efficiency resulting in quicker decisions from USCIS. New publicly-listed processing times will show a more accurate time indicating the actual average time it took USCIS to process a particular form.
What changes have been made to posted USCIS processing Times?
USCIS processing times formerly listed a time range for the processing of cases, for example, 6 to 24 months. The new processing times now show the average processing time for the case at the service center processing the case, for example, 10 months. The new processing times provide a more accurate view of how long cases are taking to process with USCIS.
What cases are included in the expanded Premium Processing?
Premium processing reduces processing times for certain case types to 15 days. USCIS is expanding the option for premium processing to include Form I-539 Extension or Change of Status, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization, and additional Form I-140 Petitions for Foreign Workers. These changes are expected to be implemented in the fiscal year 2022.
What are the new “Cycle Time Goals”?
The following are the new cycle time goals that USCIS expects to reach by FY 2023.
- USCIS Form I-129 Petition for Foreign Worker – 2 Months
- USCIS Form I-765, Form I-131, Form I-539, Form I-824 – 3 Months
- USCIS Form N-400, N-600, N-600K, I-485, I-140, I-130, I-129F, I-290B, I-360, I-1-2, I-526, I-600, I-600A, I-730, I-800, I-800A, I-90, I-821D – 6 Months