Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and individuals applying for immigration benefits are waiting longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve applications and petitions.
Based on previously available USCIS data, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, an average case took about five months to process. In FY2020, an average case took more than nine months.
Anyone who files applications or petitions with USCIS is affected. You and other people applying for family-based benefits, employment-based benefits, naturalization, travel documents, and employment authorization are all experiencing delays. Between FY2017 and FY2019, USCIS’s processing times for all petitions and application form types rose more than 37%.
The dramatic increase in processing times occurred even though USCIS experienced a ten percent drop in cases received from the end of FY2017 to FY2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS processing times have continued to rise from FY2019 to FY2021.
From FY2017 to FY2021, processing times for all I-539 applications rose from 2.8 months to 9.8 months; family-based adjustment cases rose from 7.9 months to 13.2 months, and naturalization applications rose from 7.9 months to almost a whole year.
Many factors can slow down your case, including inefficient processing, understaffing, changes in policy due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and changes in immigration policy in general. Expect USCIS processing to take longer than you want, no matter what type of application you are filing. Oftentimes, the only option is to wait for the government to take action. If your case is considered outside of normal processing times based on the case processing page on USCIS (you can find that page here), then some additional action can be taken. Some of those additional actions include submitting an inquiry to USCIS, asking USCIS to expedite your case if you meet the expedite requirements (i.e. a humanitarian crisis or a life or death situation), talking to your member of congress’ office to get assistance, or filing a lawsuit against USCIS to force them to act on your case.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with me, please call 801-883-8204.