Fact Sheet: How the Government Estimates Application Processing Times

Immigration applicants often want to know how much time it will take to get a decision on their applications.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigraiton Services (USCIS) does publish processing time estimates,  found at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times. Applicants should keep in mind that the expected processing times are only estimates, which may not be accurate.

The USCIS has recently implemented a pilot program to improve the accuracy of its estimates.  The American Immigration Council describes the pilot program and concerns over the accurancy of these estimates in the fact sheet, How USCIS Estimates Application and Petition Processing Times.  The fact sheet explains that the new pilot program calculates processing times for four types of applications:

  • N-400, Application for Naturlization
  • I-90, Application for Replacement Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence (green card); and
  • I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

time range is now provided for these applications  based on the number of applications completed in the previous month, with the low end reflecting the time needed to complete 50 percent of cases and the high end showing the time it took to complete 93 percent of cases.

For other immigation filings, USCIS has stated that the “high end for the non-pilot forms will be adjusted by 30 percent above current cycle times to reflect the time it takes to complete a majority of the cases.”  However,  it is not clear what number 30 percent is being added to or why the “30 percent” figure was chosen.

Despite shortcomings, the USCIS  published reports are the only way an applicant can determine the processing time of an application.  Applicants should not rely on the experience of other applicants.

This information is provided as an educational service.Consult with an attorney to find out if you have other options to maintain legal immigration status in the U.S.
For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration options, you are invited to call me at 214-472-2161 or visit my websites at www.badmuslaw.com and  www.physicianimmigration.com.

 

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