Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and humanitarian relief seekers are waiting longer for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve your applications and petitions.
Five years ago, an average case was taking about five months to process. By Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, that same applicant waited nearly 10 months. Those extra months of waiting keep families separated, halt business operations, and jeopardize those in distress.
Who Is Affected?
You and other people applying for family-based benefits, employment-based benefits, naturalization, travel documents, and employment authorization are all experiencing delays. In FY2018, 94% of all immigration form types took longer to process when compared to FY2014. I’ve been an immigration attorney here at this firm since 2000. Back then, a K1 fiance visa would take about 3 months on average. Now, it’s about 11 months. The slowdowns are across the board with essentially all visa classes.
Why Are Cases Taking Longer?
Many factors can slow down your case. New policies at USCIS are restricting legal immigration. For example, one policy requires USCIS officers to conduct duplicate reviews of past decisions, adding work to each case with little effect other than to slow things down. Also, a petition filed incorrectly is rejected. The USCIS could simply request the missing documentation, but has chosen to reject instead. These inefficiencies help explain why processing times are increasing even as USCIS application rates are decreasing. So, you also must be careful what you file because an incorrect submission wastes time.
Recent USCIS data shows that USCIS’s average processing time rose by 19% from FY2017 to FY2018, even while overall numbers of case receipts declined by 13% during that same period.
The USCIS is not tax payer funded
The USCIS is a service-oriented agency who is funded with the fees collected. Basically, the filing fees you pay on forms cover the cost of reviewing your application. So, people are not getting the service for which they paid.
Other countries have governmental agencies that perform efficiently, but the US can’t get it right. This slow down seems deliberate. It’s a way to pretend there is a problem with government, but really does not reflect how good government works.