Earlier today, USCIS announced that they changed the way they’re sharing information on how long cases “truly” take.  For example, there were some cases that said you could expect a response in 2-13 months.  That’s not particularly helpful when you’re trying to plan your life. There were also some forms (like the I-539) that do many different things and one type of I-539 could move a lot faster than another type of I-539.

On the new case processing website, USCIS has done a much better job of tailoring the information. You can select the sub-category of your case. For example, on I-539s, you can look at the specific data for 15 different categories. An I-539 for an extension of U status will take 12.5 months. An I-539 for a change of status to F-1 that’s being processed at the Nebraska Service Center will take 17 months. It’s really great to see actual case information.

Another change is that the time that they show is the time it takes for them to complete 80% of those cases. Some cases could be decided faster and 20% will be decided a bit slower, but this gives a good estimate on when you can expect a decision. Under the prior version, the math was complicated and they didn’t openly share these numbers.

One of the more helpful changes is that they’ve put a tool on the site that allows you to see if it’s time to put in an inquiry with USCIS. They won’t let you ask about a case if it’s in “normal” processing times, but sometimes a case takes longer than expected and you want to ask USCIS what’s going on. Now you can put in your receipt number and see if it’s time to reach out to USCIS. To see howt his worked, I put in April 11, 2021 for a VAWA I-360. The results said that the case was “processing normally” and that the earliest I could put in an inquiry is January 9, 2024. I won’t get into how ridiculous it is that VAWA cases are taking over two years to adjudicate, but this is helpful to see when I can pester USCIS.

If you have a case with USCIS pending, I recommend checking the new site out and putting in your numbers. This will give you a better idea of what time-frame you’re looking at. I’m happy to see this step in transparency and hope to see these adjudication times come down soon!

-Tracie