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Why Is Your Case Taking So Long? USCIS delays in Work Permit and Green Card Production

Nationwide, you and millions of families, businesses, and people applying for Green Cards are waiting longer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and approve your applications and petitions. Five years ago, an average case was taking a couple of months to process. Now, the process may take longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a financial crisis caused by the decrease in application volume of more than 60 percent from the time that USCIS was forced to close its field offices.

On May 15, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) suddenly announced that without a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress, it would soon need to furlough over 13,000 of its employees because of projected budget shortfalls. USCIS, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is in charge of managing much of the legal immigration system, including applications for permanent residency (“green cards”), U.S. citizenship, asylum, work permits, and various temporary immigration statuses. The agency, which is almost entirely funded by user fees, claims that it is working with Congress to explain the financial situation and educate members and staff on the agency's needs.

Both the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget had written to Congress to support the proposal and request emergency funding. The agency also promised that any funding provided would be paid back to the U.S. Treasury. Without congressional action before August 3, USCIS will need to furlough over 13,000 staff members, which will have tremendous negative impacts on our mission, administering the U.S lawful immigration system.

Who Is Affected?

It’s likely this will slow down the processing of applications and will, for sure, cause noticeable delays immediately. You and other people applying for family-based benefits, employment-based benefits, naturalization, travel documents, and employment authorization are all experiencing delays.

What Can I Do?

If you already submitted a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and your case is pending with USCIS, here is some useful information to know.

  • Make sure your lawyer has your updated contact information.

  • Talk to us about your expectations for processing your case.

  • Our office can guide you and help you plan for any delays.

  • Always update your address with USCIS. If you move, you must update your address with USCIS within 10 days of moving to the new address. If you do not update your address, you may not receive important notices about your case.

  • You can check the average case processing times for a particular USCIS office to process a Form I-485 at USCIS Processing Time Information.

  • If you applied for an employment-based Green Card, you can also go to our Immigration and Citizenship Data and Questions & Answers: Pending Employment-Based Form I-485 Inventory pages for more information.

  • If you want a case status update about your application, you can go to our Case Status Online page and use your Form I-485 receipt number to look up your case status.

  • Learn more or contact USCIS Contact Center.

Our office is constantly monitoring changes to the U.S. immigration system to help keep you informed. If you have any questions regarding your immigration status, please contact our office. We are happy to provide free initial consultations for any immigration legal assistance.

About Us

The Law Office of Nicholas J. Mireles is an experienced Los Angeles based U.S. Immigration law firm that has been practicing immigration law since 2013. Our background makes us uniquely well suited to help you with any issue relating to your immigration status.

Law Office of Nicholas J. Mireles, APC

411 West 7th St. Ste 310 - Los Angeles, CA 90014

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