Increased USCIS Processing Times

Our clients have expressed surprise and frustration in the unexpected delays in their immigration benefit processing and have asked us for an explanation.  

Why Hasn’t My Case Been Decided Yet? Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and people applying for US immigration benefits are waiting longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve your applications and petitions. This includes applications for U.S. citizenship which is especially frustrating for our German clients you already went through the timely process of obtaining a Beibehaltungsgenehmigung in order to keep their German citizenship when applying for U.S. naturalization. Five years ago, an average case over all types of petitions was taking about five months to process. By Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, that same applicant waited nearly 10 months. Those extra months of waiting halt business operations, keep families separated, and jeopardize people’s lives.  

Who Is Affected? You and other people applying for family-based benefits, employment-based benefits, U.S. naturalization, travel documents, and employment authorization are all experiencing delays. In FY2018, a staggering 94 percent of all immigration petitions and application form types took longer to process when compared to FY2014. In many instances, processing times have doubled from the estimates our office may have originally predicted, even while the overall numbers of case receipts at USCIS during this period declined by 13 percent!  

Why Are Cases Taking Longer? Many factors can slow down your case. New policies at USCIS are restricting legal immigration. For example, one new policy requires USCIS officers to conduct duplicate reviews of past decisions, adding unnecessary work to each case. Furthermore, duplicate and redundant security checks are also now being performed on even the most routine applications. These inefficient policies help explain why processing times are increasing even as USCIS application rates are decreasing. Congress intended USCIS to function as a service-oriented agency on behalf of the American people. But the agency is failing its mission with unacceptably and increasingly slow case processing.  

What Can I do? Be patient and remain strong and determined in your quest for your rightful immigration benefit. Do not get discouraged. This is what the government hopes will happen, and that more people will just give up. Our office stands with you in your fight and together we will see you through to a successful conclusion.