USCIS Announces Measures to Reduce N-400 and I-485 Processing Times


Processing times at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have long been a point of concern. And the Trump Administration’s efforts to implement roadblocks in the legal immigration system have only exacerbated the situation. Since the last fiscal year of the Obama Administration, the overall USCIS processing times have increased dramatically. Notably, processing times for applications to register permanent residence or adjust status (form I-485) and applications for naturalization (form N-400) have nearly doubled.

The USCIS is now taking steps to improve processing times for I-485 and N-400 applications. Unfortunately, as part of these efforts, the USCIS appears poised to make the application process more inconvenient for some applicants.


USCIS Announces Measures to Reduce Processing Times


In announcing efforts to decrease processing times, the USCIS attributed the N-400 and I-485 backlogs to a greater-than-expected volume of cases; moreover, the increase in cases has hit some USCIS field offices harder than others, resulting in disparities in processing times.


The USCIS now will be redistributing these case types more evenly across field offices. The USCIS indicates that, as cases are shifted to balance workloads, some applicants may have to appear for in-person interviews at field offices outside their normal respective jurisdictions. Applicants still, however, will be able to appear for biometrics appointments at the application support center nearest to them.


Unforeseen Consequences


Though the USCIS’s measures may prove effective in decreasing processing times for forms N-400 and I-485 on paper, the aforementioned disadvantage to applicants must be considered, as well. Applicants who are scheduled to appear for interviews at field offices outside of their normal jurisdictions will be required to make appropriate travel arrangements. While the USCIS has not provided any specifics, the hope is that interviews scheduled outside an applicant’s normal jurisdiction will only be scheduled at field offices that are within reasonable commuting distance.

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