Top Ten Issues Concerning USCIS

  1. USCIS displays case processing times for select forms and locations to let people know how long it generally takes to process their cases.
  2. USCIS also allows you to see your specific case status online Enter your receipt notice to see the last action taken on your case. Sometimes it takes time to update or is not updated. Alternatively, create an account with USCIS where you can receive real-time updates and submit an inquiry.
  3. If your case is outside of processing time, you can call 800-375-5283 or submit an inquiry online service request for an issue that is “outside normal processing time.” Processing times show the average amount of time it takes the USCIS to adjudicate a particular form—from when it received the application until the USCIS decides the case.
  4. USCIS established new internal cycle time goals last month. USCIS will increase capacity, improve technology, and expand staffing to achieve these new goals by FY 2023 (i.e., October 2024) if successful citizenship applications, family-based petitions, adjustments of status applications, green card renewals, and many other applications are processed in 6 months or less. In addition, work authorization applications and applications to extend or change status will be processed in less than six months.
  5. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule that aligns premium processing regulations with the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act. This final rule expands the categories of forms eligible for premium processing services, including Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and additional classifications under Form I-140.
  6. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USCIS stopped processing Form I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers because all U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide were closed. Since I-601A applicants couldn't complete the consular process and resources were limited as many USCIS employees worked from home, the I-601A applications were not prioritized. As a result, the processing times for I601A applications increased significantly. Currently, the Potomac Service Center processing times are between 33.5 months and 43 months, and the Nebraska Service Center processing times are between 23 months to 30 months for these cases. If you have an I-601A application pending, please be patient. If you are a client of our office, we will contact you as soon as we receive any new communication about your case. 
  7. The bona fide determination (BFD) process is used to grant deferred action and issue employment authorization to U-visa petitioners who are found to have bona fide applications . Once USCIS decides that the U-visa application is bona fide, the applicant will be granted deferred action and eligible for work authorization for four years. A U-visa applicant cannot apply for a work permit until the BFD is issued.
  8. DHS has automatically extended the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents, or EADs, with a Category Code of A12 or C19, issued under Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for Somalia through Sept. 12, 2022.
  9. USCIS is now issuing initial and renewal EADs to adjustment applicants, asylees and refugees, noncitizens withholding deportation or removal, and VAWA self-petitioners; or up to the end of the authorized deferred action or parole period to applicants in these filing categories that are valid for two years.
  10. When all else fails, consider reaching out to your Congressional Representative. They have direct access to a Congressional Liaison office that may get a response much faster on a case that is not getting processed promptly.
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