To reduce processing times for naturalization and green card applications at its busiest field offices, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced it will transfer cases and USCIS interviews to less-busy offices.
That means if you file either Form N-400, Application for Naturalization or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to a busy USCIS office, such as San Francisco or San Jose, USCIS could transfer oversight of your case to an office with shorter processing times, such as Fresno. That also means USCIS could schedule you to appear for a USCIS interview at a field office outside of your “normal jurisdiction.” The agency has not said whether it will limit how far an applicant will have to travel for their interview.
However, naturalization and family and employment green-card candidates will still attend a biometrics appointment at their nearest USCIS support center. USCIS says applications should follow the instructions on any notices they receive. If you have questions about a notice, you can send an online message, use online tools or get live assistance at the USCIS Contact Center.
Why the Change?
By shifting caseloads and interviews, USCIS aims to reduce wait times for naturalization and green-card applicants.
Processing times for Forms N-400 and I-485 have increased due to the “higher than expected volumes” of applications received during fiscal years 2016 and 2017, USCIS says. The number of applications increased 25.5 percent in 2016 from 2015 and 15.6 percent in 2017 from 2016. USCIS had originally projected the volume of applications to decrease during that time.
Currently, the USCIS office in San Jose takes as long as 27.5 months to process family-based adjustment applications (Form I-485). San Francisco takes as long as 22 months. In contrast, the Fresno office takes far less time, upwards of 14.5 months.
Meanwhile, employment-based adjustment applications (Form I-485) take as along as 15.5 months to process in San Jose and 17.5 months in San Francisco. That’s far shorter than the upwards of 23 months it takes to process employment-based Form I-485s in Fresno or Sacramento.
The processing times for naturalization applications are slightly shorter across the board. USCIS office in San Jose takes as long as 13 months. San Francisco takes upwards of 17 months. In contrast, the maximum processing time for naturalization applications in Fresno is 10 months.
Reach out to the Alcorn Immigration Law team if we can help with naturalization or green-card applications or USCIS interviews.