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Waiting Game: Finding Out How Long USCIS Will Take to Adjudicate a Case

I want to use this blog, and the radio show, to address several questions that I commonly receive from both clients and those who consult with me. One of those common questions is how long will the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, i.e., USCIS, take to adjudicate the case.

The answer is easy to answer but requires access to USCIS's website. USCIS lists on its website its standard processing times for most of the types of forms it adjudicates.

The Process to Find Out How Long USCIS Will Take to Adjudicate Your Form

  1. Go to the standard-processing-times webpage on USCIS's website here.
  2. From there, you'll see that you have to choose a "Form" and a "Field Office or Service Center."
    • The "Form" selection can be easy, but it's not always simple to determine the "Field Office or Service Center."
  3. If you have a receipt notice, then usually at the bottom-left-hand corner of that receipt notice the USCIS Service Center will be named.
    1. The first three letters of the receipt number can also give you a clue
      • "WAC" for California Service Center
      • "LIN" for Nebraska Service Center
      • "SRC" for Texas Service Center
      • "EAC" for Vermont Service Center
      • "YSC" for Potomac Service Center
      • "MSC" for Missouri Service Center also known as the National Benefits Center.
    2. However, if the case has been transferred to another Service Center or to a local Field Office, then that will in turn change which standard processing time applies because for the most part the Service Center or local Field Office to which the case has been transferred will need to be selected.
    3. Another caveat specifically for cases that will require an interview, e.g. Naturalization applications (N-400) and marriage-based and, now, employment-based Green-Card applications (I-485):
      • The "Field Office or Service Center" selected should be the local Field Office that will conduct the interview regardless of which Service Center initially processes the case.
  4. The local Field Office that will conduct the interview is the one with jurisdiction over the zip code of your residence
    • If there are multiple local Field Offices, then you need to determine which specific one has jurisdiction. You can do that by entering your zip code here.
  5. If you have filed a family-based immigrant petition (I-130) with an I-485, then select I-485 for the "Form" and the local Field Office that will conduct the interview for the I-130 and I-485 for "Field Office or Service Center."
    • Please note: advance-parole applications (I-131) and work-permit (employment-authorization-document) applications (I-765) are not adjudicated by the local Field Office and instead are adjudicated at a USCIS Service Center.
  6. After the "Form" and "Field Office or Service Center" selections are made, you should see an "Estimated time range" that in many circumstances can be narrowed even more by scrolling down and seeing the date range for the specific subcategory for your "Form."
    • You'll also see farther to the right of that subcategory's "Estimated time range" the receipt-date cut off relating to who can submit an inquiry on a case based on its pending beyond the standard processing time. The link to submit such an inquiry online is here (select "Case outside normal processing time").