U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced changes to simplify and improve how the agency communicates case processing time data to the public. As part of an agency-wide commitment to improve transparency, efficiency, and customer service, the changes also make it easier for individuals to get an immediate answer on when they can make an inquiry into their case.
“USCIS is committed to listening to applicants and stakeholders and continuously improving our services,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou. “This is an important step – and by no means the last – in improving clarity and transparency of USCIS data for the public.”
The agency’s publicly posted processing times provide the public with the information necessary to understand how long it may take USCIS to process a particular form. For a single case, the processing time is defined as the number of months that elapse between the date USCIS receives the application, petition, or request and the date USCIS issues a decision. The estimated processing time for a particular form is based on how long it took USCIS to approve or deny a certain percentile of completed cases for that form over the prior six-month period.
Users can now immediately find the processing time information for their particular type of case, rather than seeing an aggregate of all related case types. Additional changes include:
- Adding drop-down options for form categories will help narrow results to only the processing times that are relevant to a case and help a user understand their particular situation;
- Adding a case inquiry tool where the user can insert their receipt date and get an immediate answer on whether they should contact us with questions about their particular case; if so, benefit requestors will be provided a link to submit a case inquiry online;
- Displaying a single 80th percentile processing time (rather than a range) to simplify the information provided and improve the ability of users to estimate how long it is likely to take USCIS to process a benefit request; and
- Revising, streamlining, and adding more content to the processing times webpages to increase transparency, including a new Frequently Asked Questions page and an improved More Information page.
Processing times are meant to be used as a reference point, rather than an absolute measure of how long it will take to process a particular case. Each case is unique, and some cases take longer than others to process, depending on the facts of the particular case.
USCIS hosted a national listening session in March related to this issue, and the agency seeks and encourages the public’s input so we can continue to improve how we display processing times in a meaningful and helpful way. Another national listening session is planned for mid-May. Additional listening sessions are expected in the future. USCIS also encourages the public to provide feedback at ProcessingTimesFeedback@uscis.dhs.gov. A full list of actions USCIS has taken to reduce processing times and the agency’s pending caseload is available on the USCIS website.