USCIS to Speed Up Processing Times


Recently, USCIS announced some plans that it has to improve processing times for immigration applications and to reduce the major backlogs that they currently have.

This guide will talk about some updates that USCIS recently announced about its efforts and its plans to improve processing times.

On March 29, USCIS put out a news release in terms of what steps it plans on taking to help reduce processing times. The first thing that USCIS mentioned is that it’s going to attempt to improve its cycle times.

Basically, USCIS has this internal metric, this internal figure that they track that they refer to as a cycle time, which is essentially their way of identifying how long they expect the case to take.

The way that USCIS explained how it plans to reduce its cycle times is that they’re going to create new goals for what they want their new cycle times to be. They’re going to attempt to achieve those goals by increasing staffing, improving their technology, and in general, just increasing their overall capacity. With these changes, they expect to reduce their overall processing times.

Basically, what we’re looking at here is specific forms and what they want their goals to be for the overall processing time of these forms. For example, the form I-129, they’re projecting their goal to be two weeks with premium processing.

Form I-140

Form I-140, it’s another immigrant petition with premium processing. They’re also expecting it to be at around two weeks.

The Form I-129

For the non-premium, I-129, currently for many application types, under the current processing times, it could take anywhere from six months to eight months, or maybe even more.

But under this new goal that they’re setting for themselves, they are planning to get these I-129 processed without premium processing in two months.

Again, on three month category, we have the form I-765, which is the Application for Employment Authorization.

The Form I-131

There is form I-131, which is the form that somebody would use to apply for advanced parole, and other forms which they are planning their goal is to get these processed within three months. Before now, those forms are on six months plus period.

The N-400

The N-400, this is the Application for Naturalization. This is the application that somebody uses to apply for citizenship. These cases take nine to twelve or more months for these to get processed but USCIS is planning to get these processed within six months.

The Form I-485

The form I-485, which is the adjustment of status. This can take nine to twelve to 14 or more months. USCIS plans to get these processed within six months. And there’s more really impressive goals as well.

The form I-526

The form I-526 is the immigrant petition for somebody that’s planning on applying for an EB-5 investor visa. The form I-526 right now can take 18 or more months to process. It’s one of those forms that just takes a tremendously long time to process.

USCIS has set a goal to get these processed within six months. If that can actually happen, it would be a tremendous improvement from the current processing time.

If USCIS can actually leverage technology, increase its workforce, and increase its overall capacity to achieve these goals, it would be a tremendous benefit for people that are planning on applying for immigration benefits.

Above are just one of the sections of this news release that USCIS put out.

In addition to that, in addition to its overall plan of improving its Processing Times by tweaking its Internal Cycle Time Goals, in its latest news release, USCIS announced that it plans to expand the premium processing service.


Premium processing is an optional additional service that somebody can select to do, and it’s only available for certain cases.

What USCIS is announcing is that they plan to expand the types of cases that are eligible for premium processing. So basically, if there are more types of cases that are available and eligible for premium processing, it means that more people can take advantage of this service to get their cases processed in 15 days.

So among the various case types that USCIS plans to make eligible for premium processing are the EB-1C immigrant petition, which is a green card option for multinational managers and executives.

Basically, it’s a certain case type where somebody that’s working as a manager or an executive for a foreign company can transfer to a related company in the US, and also work as either a manager or executive.

In addition, USCIS plans to eventually make the EB-2 national Interest Waiver eligible for premium processing. The national interest waiver is a special green card option for somebody that’s going to be doing some sort of work in the United States that’s in the national interest, for example, like a cancer researcher or a doctor or some other type of professional that’s going to be doing something in the United States that’s in the national interest.

Again, the goal is that by making more case types eligible for premium processing, more people can get their cases processed faster.

Another point that was mentioned by USCIS in this news release is that it plans to make employment authorization documents more available to immigrants that are applying for them.

For example, they are working to extend the validity period of certain types of employment authorization documents, also known as EADs. They plan to improve overall processing times for Employment Authorization applications, along with other steps as well.

In Summary

USCIS has announced a multi-step kind of plan or a multi-pronged plan for improving processing times for immigration cases, for reducing overall backlogs, and in general, making immigration cases move faster.

The three items that were mentioned were that USCIS plans to improve its cycle time goals, and with that, eventually get to a point where actual processing times are improved by increasing staffing, better utilization of technology, and overall increasing the capacity that USCIS has.

In addition, USCIS is planning on expanding the types of cases that are eligible for premium processing, and USCIS plans to improve access to employment authorization documents.

I hopefully you found this information very helpful.

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