USCIS Processing Delays Continue

Practice Areas

By: Diya Mathews

Due to a large backlog of immigration applications, review times at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are delayed for most applications and services.

USCIS received a higher volume of applications than normal in 2020 and 2021, and offices remain understaffed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency plans to address backlogs by reopening in-person facilities, holding in-person interviews and meetings, and expanding its online filing system and processing capabilities. USCIS will likely continue declining requests to expedite petitions.

Delays affect a variety of USCIS forms and programs, including:

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): The DACA program is understaffed and faces a court challenge in Texas. USCIS has only processed 1.5% of DACA applications received since the program reopened.
  • Form I-485, The Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status: Form I-485 adjudication is also affected by delays, especially for applications submitted to a lockbox. USCIS is offering some lockbox filing flexibilities for a limited time before August 9, 2021.
  • Form I-765, application for Employment Authorization: However, USCIS no longer requires biometrics for nonimmigrant derivative populations which may help clear the backlog.
  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • Form I-539, application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status

Applicants can improve processing times or get updated case status information by:


USCIS suffered from declining revenue and backlogs even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The agency is working to address the application backlog and create a streamlined review process. For case- or form-specific questions, contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.


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