U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be redistributing certain naturalization and green card cases to field offices with lighter caseloads for processing. In its announcement, the agency said that since the end of 2015, it has received more green card and naturalization applications than expected. The increased volume has affected some field offices more than others. The new plan aims to reduce the backlog at the busier locations by reassigning cases to offices with lighter caseloads.
USCIS hopes that the redistribution of cases will result in shorter processing times for all green card and naturalization cases. However, it may mean that applicants have to travel farther to attend their in-person interviews at the USCIS field office processing their case. USCIS says that applicants may receive appointment notices, requests for evidence, and other types of notices from a field office beyond their normal jurisdiction. Applicants may want to pay particular attention to the location of their interview and plan accordingly if they must travel. Biometric appointments are unaffected by the redistribution of cases and will continue to be scheduled at the applicant’s nearest application support center.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to the policy changes and will post updates on our immigration blog as additional information becomes available.