A few months ago, my clients and I began to notice a disappointing trend. USCIS, which has generally been approving immediate relative petitions in approximately 6 months, was now taking 9 months to a year before issuing an approval.
This slow-down was confirmed on October 16, 2013 when USCIS released its updated processing times, showing that processing times for immediate relative petitions are now over one year!
Today, USCIS released more information on immediate relative processing times, this time stating that they are transferring some Immediate Relative Petitions to various locations around the country in an effort to balance the overall workload. While my hope is that this will speed immediate relative processing times, the actual results of this transfer have yet to be seen.
As immediate relative petitions are filed for close family members (spouse, children, and parents) and individuals are often not allowed to immigrate to the United States until the petitions are approved, I find the over-one-year processing times very disturbing. While sometimes we are able to move forward on cases that are far outside of the processing time, in general, there is nothing that can be done if a case is within processing times. As I have mentioned before, patience is a virtue when dealing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.