The Insightful Immigration Blog
In Delays for Overseas Spouses of US Citizens Seeking Green Cards I reported about the slowdown in the processing of I-130 petitions filed by US citizens on behalf of immediate relatives, such as spouses, minor children and parents, who are outside the United States. As a result of widespread concern about the delays, the USCIS seems to have reacted positively and sent the following e mail to its stakeholders:
From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:38 PM
Subject: USCIS Message: Update on the processing times of Form I-130s filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received communications from the public expressing concerns regarding extended processing times for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives. USCIS provides information below in response to the concerns expressed.
USCIS is ever-mindful of the need to process a U.S. citizen’s immediate relative Form I-130 carefully and expeditiously. The need is defined by the immigration system’s goal of preserving family unity. It is for this fundamental reason that USCIS has been focused on addressing delays in the processing of these Forms I-130 for several months.
Through concerted efforts, USCIS is now adjudicating U.S. citizens’ immediate relative Forms I-130 filed as early as February 2013. This is a significant step forward, as previously published guidance reflected the processing of these Forms I-130 filed in October 2012. Furthermore, USCIS expects the processing of these Forms I-130 to be increasingly timely in the ensuing weeks, culminating in the return to an average processing time of five months for these Forms I-130 by May 2014.
USCIS has focused on these Forms I-130 for the very reason that affected members of the public have expressed their concerns; the importance of family unity. Last month, in an effort to expedite the adjudication of these cases, USCIS began transferring stand-alone Forms I-130 filed by U.S. citizens for their immediate relatives from USCIS’s National Benefits Center to its Nebraska, Texas, and California Service Centers. This shift improves USCIS’s ability to adjudicate the cases in a timely manner.
When You Receive a Notice of Transfer of Your Case
If your case was transferred, USCIS will send you a notice listing the transfer date and where your case will be processed. Your original receipt number will not change and this will not further delay the processing of your case. USCIS will take action on your case within 60 days of the transfer date listed in your notice.
How to Track the Status of Your Case
We have recently updated the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov<http://www.uscis.gov/> with processing times for Form I-130 cases filed by U.S. citizens for their eligible immediate relatives. Please check the processing times<https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplay.do> for your petition before inquiring about your case. If your case is transferred to another USCIS office, you should refer to the processing times for the office that has received your case.
You can check the status of your case at www.uscis.gov<http://www.uscis.gov/> by entering your receipt number in the “Check Status<https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do>” field. Additionally, you can sign up to receive automatic case status updates<https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/selectusertype.jsp;jsessionid=bacEczm0-YrdshKqQwGgu> by email as your case is processed. If you have not received a decision on your case within the published processing time, you may submit an inquiry using e-Request<https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Case.do> or contact the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. For TDD hearing impaired assistance, please call 1-800-767-1833. When making any case status inquiries, you should reference your original receipt number and indicate that your case was transferred to a new location.
If you have filed a Form I-130 and you receive a request for evidence or any other type of communication from USCIS, please read the notice carefully to ensure that you respond to the same service center that sent you the notice.
If you move while your case is pending, you can change your address on the USCIS website<https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa> or contact the NCSC so that USCIS can notify you of any further action on your case. It is important that you notify USCIS of any change of address as soon as possible after moving.
We appreciate the concerns that members of the public have expressed on this important subject. We are mindful of those concerns and are addressing them with great diligence.
USCIS Public Engagement Division
It is indeed welcome news that USCIS is endeavoring to speed up the processing of I-130 petitions of US citizens, and restore the original processing times of five months or less. While the granting of immigration benefits is contentious in today’s political environment, seldom dispute the ability of a US citizen to swiftly bring into this country a foreign national whom he or she has married overseas. The number of US citizens who can file I-130 petitions on behalf of spouses has recently expanded after Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, thus enabling US citizens to also file I-130 petitions on behalf of same sex spouses. These spouses were unjustly deprived of a benefit for years on end as a result of an unconstitutional statute, and they should not be required to wait that much longer for the I-130 petition to get approved.