How Does USCIS Process Cases

We’ve had a lot of people asking, “how does USCIS process cases?”.

A lot of people are asking this because they’re saying, “There’s other people that I know or other people in the group that have gotten a receipt notice before me but I filed my application before them or they got a decision months before me and I haven’t gotten anything yet.”

I know there’s a lot of confusion about how long does USCIS take, how do they process cases, why is it so random that somebody could get a decision before somebody else and basically just wanting to know what’s going on behind the scenes of immigration. I want to make sure that you have clarity about USCIS and how they process cases and it really is random and chaotic. That’s why it’s so hard when I know so many of you in the Facebook group have asked, “How long does it take to complete a fiancé visa case?” or “How long does it take for an adjustment case?”.

And that’s why this question is so difficult for anybody to answer. It’s because there is so much randomness and so much disorganization at USCIS. The way it works is that you’ll file your application, you’ll mail your application to immigration and sometimes that goes to a mail center, a lock box, or it might go to an actual field office. Once your application is received, a mail room will process your application and then they will either send it to the next office that is going to be reviewing it or they’ll send it to the officer that’s going to review it.

Basically, the mail room will designate where that application goes and get it to the right place.

The other part of this question that people are wanting to know is, “How many people look at my application? Are there multiple officers and what is the review process?” Typically, your application will be reviewed by more than one person. I’ll give an example of adjustment of status.

For example, one office is going to review one part of your application for the work permit and another office is going to review your petition, your I-130 petition and green card application. You’ll go for an interview and an officer will interview you and that officer will make a decision and then they oftentimes have a supervisor that will approve that decision. So, there’s multiple officers that can be involved in making a decision on your case.

The other aspect of this is people are wanting to know, “How is it possible that somebody could get a decision before me?” or “Why don’t I have a receipt notice yet?” It has to do with so many factors of where your application was filed  and has to do with the particular officer that’s looking at your application, if they have a lot of cases or not.

There’s so many factors that go into when your application will be reviewed and also, immigration is receiving thousands and thousands of applications in a mail room and they’re processing them. It can get a little disorganized about where you happen to fall in the stack.

There’s just so many variables and the way that USCIS decides to processes cases. And so, that is why wait times vary so much. It’s so difficult to answer that question. That’s why it’s random. Somebody could get a decision before you.

Hopefully, that helps clarify a little bit about how USCICS processes cases.