Your Guide to USCIS Processing Time For Citizenship And Immigration Services

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the United States government agency overseeing legal immigration to the U.S.A. 

They receive hundreds to thousands of immigration cases every year, so USCIS processing times may take longer than you expected.

USCIS has field offices around the country to manage the massive amount of applications it receives. Every applicant is assigned to a field office depending on their zip code.

Every field office receives a different volume of applications. This directly influences how quickly it processes them. Various USCIS offices have significantly different wait times, particularly in big cities.

In this article, you’ll get to learn more about the processing time for citizenship and immigration services.

What Is USCIS Processing Time, and How Is It Calculated?

Processing time is the number of days or months that pass between the date USCIS received an application, petition, or request and the date USCIS completed them (accepted or refused) in a given six-month period.

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For example, if USCIS received a Form N-400 on January 24, 2022, and finished adjudication on March 5, 2022, the processing period for that exact application is 41 days. This computation is done for each Form N-400 completed in March 2022 and the five months before March 2022.

How To Check Processing Time Online

The USCIS website is an official government website of the United States under the Department of Homeland Security.

You can check the status of your application through the status tracker on the USCIS website. You may also do so by phone or mail.

To check your processing time online, go to uscis.gov and enter your zip code in the search box to find the office handling your case.

Once you’ve pinpointed the office, go to the USCIS Case Processing Time tool. Select your application type in the first selection box. Then, select the field office or service center processing your application in the second dropdown box. The processing time will be shown in a range of two numbers. 

For example, if you apply for naturalization at the Seattle, Washington field office, the processing time for naturalization applications (Form N-400) ranges from 12.5 to 36 months, as of March 31, 2020.

Are USCIS Processing Times Going To Improve?

Based on the official government website of USCIS, the processing time from 2017 to 2022 has improved.

The USCIS uses Fiscal Years (FY), spanning from October 1 of the preceding year to September 30 of the year in question. FY 2021, for example, would run from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021.

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Waiting Time For Green Cards

You may examine the trend line for your green card application using USCIS historic processing time data. You may also refer to the average waiting time indicated below.

Form I-130 (Alien Relative Petition)

From FY 2017 through FY 2021, there is a net trend of rising processing times. There was an average rise of 1-2 months until FY 2021 when processing time averages 10.2 months.

Form I-485 (Status Adjustment)

Between FY 2017 and FY 2021, the processing time for family-based green card applications (i.e., close relatives or spouses of a US citizen) increased significantly. FY 2021 processing time averaged 13 months.

Form I-131 (Advance Parole)

The processing of advance parole applications increased from 4.6 months in FY 2020 to 7.7 months in FY 2021.

Form I-765 (Employment Authorization)

Work permit application processing duration increased from 3.2 months in FY 2020 to 3.9 months in FY 2021.

Waiting Time For Naturalization Applications

Between FY 2017 and FY 2021, the processing time for Form N-400 (formally known as the “Application for Naturalization”) grew significantly, with FY2021 processing durations averaging 11.5 months. The latest increase is primarily because of a backlog of citizenship applications.

What Should You Do If Your Case Is Taking Too Long?

If you think your case is taking such a long time, you can submit a service request on the official website of USCIS. Follow the guidelines below.

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Service Request

After getting your processing time, a tool will appear to assist you in determining whether or not you may contact USCIS with questions concerning your case. 

In the text box, type your receipt date, which you may find on your receipt notification.

If your case is taking longer than usual to process, you will be given a link where you can lodge an inquiry. If your case falls within standard processing timelines, you will be given an approximate time to contact them. 

Please revisit the page from time to time, as the processing timeframes may vary.

Conclusion

The case processing time is something you cannot control. Depending on where the applicant resides, the naturalization procedure may be shortened. This is because certain field offices process applications far more quickly than others.

Instead, you should prepare to strengthen your case and ace your interview. As long as you file the strongest case possible, you should just wait for your case to be processed.
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