The Biden Administration recently proposed changes to help reduce the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services backlog. As part of the president’s $5.8 trillion budget request to Congress, the USCIS under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would see a 700% increase over the 2021 budget for a total of $904 million. The administration earmarked $765 million to reduce the caseloads and backlogs. The discretionary funding will help with the alarming rise of asylum backlogs and refugee processing due to wars around the globe. It will also address the historic backlog in visa applications, green cards, naturalization, and other USCIS services. The budget also includes an 80% increase in immigration court funding, among many other changes.
Faster and bettering processing
The USCIS also made changes to simplify how the agency processes applications and increased clarity and responsiveness. The improvements include:
- Post the individual processing times for forms at each stage, so applicants and stakeholders can plan accordingly.
- Users can immediately see their processing time information for a particular type of case rather than a general time frame for all similar cases.
- They added a new case inquiry tool on its website where users insert the receipt date to get real-time answers about whether they should contact the agency because there is a problem.
- Display an 80th percentile processing time versus an application window.
- Add additional helpful information, including new Frequently Asked Questions and More Information pages.
Changes are ongoing
Many of the administrative changes came out of a national listening session in March of 2022 hosted by the USCIS. Based on their response and the massive increase in funding, there are many exciting changes for the better at the USCIS, which will make applications and paperwork considerably less stressful. However, change is ongoing at federal agencies, so it is advised to work with an attorney that handles visa applications and other USCIS services for their clients.