U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced Thursday changes to its processing times tool to provide applicants with more accurate information.
The tool allows applicants to check how long USCIS is currently taking to process specific forms, from when the agency first receives the form to when it makes a decision on a case.
As part of the new changes, visa applicants can now narrow their results and find wait times for a particular form type. Previously, applicants could only search for wait times for a group of related form types.
The move is part of a broader effort to increase transparency and speed up visa processing as the federal agency faces an unprecedented backlog of immigration applications.
“USCIS is committed to listening to applicants and stakeholders and continuously improving our services,” said USCIS Director Ur Jaddou in a statement. “This is an important step – and by no means the last – in improving clarity and transparency of USCIS data for the public.”
Other changes include:
- Drop-down menu for form categories. For example, if you want to check how long the current wait time is for Form I-130 at the Texas Service Center, you can narrow the results by specifying the form category (in the example below, the wait time shown is for a lawful permanent resident sponsoring a spouse or child under 21).
- The wait time is now displayed as a single number (for example 7.5 months) versus a range (7.5 – 11 months). The number represents how long it has taken USCIS to process 80% of cases over the previous six-month period.
- Adding a new tool that allows applicants to put in their receipt date and immediately know whether or not they should contact USCIS with questions about their case.
USCIS recently announced a number of new measures to increase processing efficiency and reduce the enormous backlog of applications, which as of February had reached 9.5 million applications.