The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have released new data about the average processing times per form and petition type from 2014 through 2018. Despite the fact that the average wait has gone up for almost every type of petition, there have been particularly lengthy delays for certain applicants. Notable examples include foreign nationals seeking a green card now have longer waits than other foreign nationals seeking non-immigrant visa petition. The numbers have been particularly noticeable in the last few years since the 2016 elections.
Change in laws listed as reason
Some may think that lack of funding by the current administration and Congress is the reason for the increased processing time. However, the USCIS is financed by fees it charges to applicants for each application — Congress empowered the USCIS to set amounts to covered the expenses of staffing and processing. In its annual report to Congress, USCIS said the increased wait times are based on how the current laws are written, which are so complex that normal fee structures are not enough. Other delays involve the increased security screenings. Those numbers on the length of the delays have now been published by the USCIS.
Congress showed concern
Eighty-six members of Congress recently wrote a letter to USCIS citing concerns about these processing delays and a few requests:
- That that organization improve the speed of processing
- Provide more transparency in the adjudication procedures
- Take the necessary steps to address, prevent or at least reduce the delays
Employers and immigrants take note
Employers looking to seek permanent residency for their employees already working here need to plan for these increased processing times. This will ensure that the employer and employee do not miss deadlines so that previous visas expire.