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What Is the Time Frame for Immigrants to Get Documents?

The waiting times estimated by officials from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suggest some immigrants are able to get green cards within 90 days after their application packets are filed and fees are paid, but such estimates reflect ideal conditions the federal agency hasn’t experienced in many decades. The reality of USCIS processing times in 2023 is that the prodigious backlog of cases has prompted the White House to implement immediate measures to alleviate this situation.

Since 2021, the Department of Homeland Security has been working with USCIS directors to speed up the processing of petitions and applications for certain benefits, particularly delicate situations such as I-360 petitions for widows and special immigrants. The waiting times in this category have been reduced from 24 to 19 months. As can be expected, petitions for non-immigrant workers have been given priority because of the tight American job market, which means most I-129 packets are being approved within two months.

The White House has been evaluating a recommendation to expedite Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) across all categories that require the filing of an I-140 petition. If accepted, this measure would approve the expedited issuance of EAD cards to foreigners whose work visa applications have been stuck in processing limbo. Such a measure could also be implemented for H-1B visa holders who have filed for Adjustment of Status from non-immigrant workers to legal residents. This doesn’t mean they’ll get their green cards sooner, but they’ll be allowed to continue working in the meantime.

If everything goes according to the plans being formulated by the White House, EAD and conditional residency cards could be issued about a month after certain applicants have been admitted to the U.S. The individuals in this category would include K-1 marriage visa holders and others going through the process of family-based immigration. San Diego immigrants can expect the following processing times for other USCIS applications in 2023.

I-131 Application for Travel Document

Immigrants who are under Temporary Protective Status or in the advance parole program can leave the U.S. and return under special circumstances, but such travel must be permitted through I-131 approvals, which are taking 13 months to process at the USCIS regional center in California.

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

These applications are more commonly included with other petitions, such as Form I-485 for Adjustment of Status, but their approval can take as long as 31 months if processed at the USCIS regional center in Texas. As previously mentioned, EAD cards are the current focus of the White House, which means I-765 processing times could be lowered to just one month. Management information systems specialists at USCIS are looking into developing a standalone EAD data network to make the process more efficient.

I-485 Application to Adjust Status

At the Nebraska USCIS regional center, immigrants can turn their conditional residency status into permanent when their I-485 packets are approved, and the processing time has been reduced to just over 12 months in 2023. This is a major improvement when we look back at I-485 processing times in 2019, which were closer to 29 months. 

If you need information on any aspect of San Diego immigration, contact KS Visa Law today. From family immigration law to naturalization, we can address all your immigration-related needs. Call 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.

April 2024