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USCIS Seeks Better Application Processing Time Estimates

USCIS Seeks Better Application Processing Time Estimates

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is using a new pilot program for calculating processing times for various immigration forms as part of an effort to be more transparent and accurate about the time the agency takes to handle the requests, officials said on April 6.

After years of complaints that posted estimates for how long USCIS would take to process applications for requests such as naturalization or to replace green cards were wildly off, the agency decided more than 18 months ago to overhaul the process, said Julie Kirchner, USCIS’ ombudsman, during a conference call on Thursday that focused on the program.

The resulting pilot program, which kicked off in March and is expected to extend for several more months, has proven to be “more accurate and helpful” for users, Kirchner said, as it now provides a range of times, rather than one estimated time.

The low end of the range reflects how long USCIS has taken in recent weeks to complete 50 percent of cases, while the high end shows users how long the agency is taking to complete 93 percent of cases, according to USCIS documents.

The pilot is testing how to more accurately calculate processing times for the Form N-400 application for naturalization, the Form I-90 application to replace a green card, the Form I-485 application to adjust status or to register permanent residence, and the Form I-751 petition to remove conditions on a residence, according to USCIS.

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