Application Processing Times – What you should expect

One of the hardships of dealing with an immigration case and dealing with USCIS is the length of time it takes to process your paperwork. This uncertainty has become accepted as a rite of passage for those waiting for their petitions and applications to be processed.

While it typically takes up to up to a year for an immigration applications to be processed, there are reported cases of processing times taking much longer or shorter depending on seemingly random factors such as the location where they are filed. This inherent uncertainty can create stress and hardship on families who may be waiting for their adjustment of status and permanent residence to be approved, or for an employer waiting for an essential immigrant worker to commence employment. In an effort to address this issue USCIS has rolled out a pilot automated system to help applicants better calculate the approximate processing times the should expect to wait through the USCIS website. This is currently available for four of the following most regularly used immigration forms:

Form I-485, (Application to Register Permanent Residence and/or Adjust Status)
Form I-90 (Replace Green Card)
Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence)
Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization)

The actual system used to calculate processing times will now provide a range of dates rather than a specific time period. By using the new pilot program you can better determine the low to high end range of dates you’ll likely expect to wait for between 50% to 93% of the immigration applications or petitions filed in any given month—including yours. If your immigration form is dependent on another primary USCIS form, the processing time for the other related form is not factored into the processing time. Additionally USCIS processing times are now calculated and posted every 2 weeks, and not every 6 weeks as was previously done.

While the enhanced accuracy of processing times is debatable, it is a long awaited and necessary step toward improvement. Once you create an online account at the USCIS website, you can track the processing time of your adjustment of status case (or other type of case) online. If your case falls outside the high end of the posted processing times you may submit a service request alerting the agency that your immigration case is outside of normal processing times. This may help to bring your case back on track.

For this and other tips contact US Immigration Team.