USCIS reduces backlog for the first time in over a decade

USCIS backlog 2023

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has unveiled its accomplishments for the fiscal year (FY) 2023, showcasing progress in meeting strategic priorities. Throughout the year, USCIS received an unprecedented 10.9 million filings and successfully closed over 10 million pending cases, achieving a “notable” 15% reduction in overall backlogs. It’s the first time the agency reduced its backlog in over a decade.

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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADJUSTMENT AND CHANGE OF STATUS

One of the achievements in FY 2023, according to USCIS, was the administration of the Oath of Allegiance to more than 878,500 new U.S. citizens, including 12,000 military members, effectively eliminating the backlog of naturalization applications. USCIS also successfully reduced the median processing time for naturalization applicants from 10.5 months to 6.1 months, a significant improvement aligned with the agency’s objectives.

In its commitment to enhancing customer experiences, USCIS introduced technological solutions, including a self-service tool for online biometrics appointment rescheduling, which facilitated over 33,000 appointment changes. The implementation of an enterprise change of address system allowed for more than 430,000 online address changes, contributing to a potential 31% reduction in USCIS Contact Center phone inquiries.

Collaborating with the Department of State, USCIS issued over 192,000 employment-based immigrant visas in FY 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Noteworthy changes were made to benefit U.S. employers and noncitizen workers, such as extending the maximum validity period of Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to five years for adjustment of status applicants.

Looking forward to FY 2024, USCIS aims to sustain efficient processing times and has proposed rules to modernize the H-1B program, emphasizing both efficiency and integrity. The agency acknowledges the importance of Congressional support for its supplemental funding request to address resource needs and ensure continued progress.

“As a fee-funded agency, USCIS achieved all these accomplishments within the constraints of a fee schedule that was last updated in 2016.  We announced a new fee schedule that allows USCIS to more fully recover our operating costs, reestablish and maintain timely case processing, support the development and implementation of tools that further increase our efficiency and improve the customer experience, and help prevent the accumulation of future case backlogs. We continue to call on Congress to pass the Administration’s supplemental funding request, including additional resources for USCIS to cover projected shortfalls and hire additional personnel”, says the agency in its website.

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USCIS Clarifies Fees for Employment-Based Petitions

USCIS Clarifies Fees for Employment-Based Petitions

Fees for Employment-Based Petitions USCIS issued a clarification on its website to help employers filing certain employment-based petitions determine the correct fees. The FAQ focuses on how to calculate the new immigration fees based on an employer's status as a...