How Do I Navigate Case Processing?

Hi, I'm Ali. I am here to help you with the most important issues you'll want to discuss with a lawyer when filing applications with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

It’s normal to be anxious when awaiting a decision about your application with USCIS. Ali can help you check the status of your application and understand why it may be taking longer than you expected.

USCIS has several self-service options to check processing times and other relevant details for green cards and other types of applications. The online self-service tools are in English. If you are not comfortable using these tools, you can ask your lawyer to check your case processing time for you.

How do I use the online tool?

Happy to help. First, you will need to gather some information on your Case Type, which you can find on your Notice of Action. You’ll need your form type or case type, receipt number, receipt date, and USCIS office.

Next, enter your information into the Case Processing Times tool and follow the steps to learn more about your case status.

Hi Ali, my name is Bashir. My brother is trying to get his green card from his approved asylum application. The website says 80% of cases are completed within 29 and a half months. Will his green card application really take that long?

The estimated time reflects how long it took USCIS to complete 80% of these cases over the last 6 months. Each case is unique, and some cases may take longer than others. Processing times are a reference point, but do not guarantee that your case will be decided in a similar amount of time.

But my cousin got his green card within a few months of arriving to the United States.

There are many factors that control the timing of a decision being made by the U.S. government, like what forms of immigration relief your cousin has applied for and what immigration status, if any, he currently has. There are many circumstances that can cause differences in case processing times. If you’re curious about what’s happening with your case, it’s recommended that you talk to a lawyer about submitting a case inquiry to follow-up on your application. Another helpful resource is the USCIS Policy Manual, which includes information on when you are eligible to apply for a green card.

Hi Ali, my name is Samir. Why does it take so long for cases to process?

Good question, Samir. I know it takes patience. Immigration applications are processed at different service centers across the United States. Each center handles specific types of cases depending on your immigration category and your state of residency. For example, applications for permanent residence are in high demand and some centers have been overwhelmed with the number of applications they are receiving.

Processing times also depend on whether an interview is required for the approval of your application. If you must attend an interview, your processing time will depend on when the office can schedule your interview and how many people are waiting ahead of you. These factors can add to the time it takes to process the application.

Is there any way to speed up the process by transferring my application to another service center?

No. You cannot request a transfer, but in some cases, you can request to expedite your application. It’s recommended to ask your lawyer if your application is eligible or is already expedited, like most Afghan cases. Keep in mind, certain applications from Afghan citizens or nationals should be marked by a lawyer to ensure they are prioritized.

Hi Ali, my name is Shakera. I am unable to check the processing time for my asylum application (Form I-589) with this online tool.

The USCIS system processes asylum applications differently, so you are not able to check processing times for asylum applications online.

USCIS is processing asylum applications for certain Afghan nationals faster than other populations. USCIS strives to schedule an interview no more than 45 days after the application was filed. USCIS also aims to process asylum applications filed by Afghan nationals within 150 days after they are received. However, there are exceptional circumstances and processing delays that may cause your application to take longer.

While you cannot find information about asylum application processing times online, you can find out where your asylum application stands in the process by checking the case status. Follow these instructions (at https://ilsaa.acf.hhs.gov) to check your case status.

You or your lawyer can also submit a case inquiry to USCIS. Below are the available options on the USCIS website. It is recommended that a lawyer help you submit a request.

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