USCIS have announced that they have plans to reassign some green card and naturalization cases from local field offices with long backlogs to those with fewer cases. Procedurally, USCIS has a number of main field offices around the country that receive all types of visa and status applications. From there, applications are scanned, processed, and entered into the system. For applications such as marriage, employment, and naturalization that require an interview before the case can be approved, after the application is processed, they are transferred to local field offices in the area that the applicant resides in. After processing at the local offices, the applicant receives a notice to attend an interview at the local office.
This system, however, creates significant backlogs in metropolitan areas with bigger populations compared to more suburban areas. In places such as New York City, USCIS have tried to counter the backlog by opening many local field offices. However since implementing the law that employment based green card applicants also have to attend interviews in October 2017, the backlog and wait times have only increased.
In this new plan USCIS is implementing, applications in heavy workload areas will be moved in lighter workload field offices. The pros of this plan would be that wait time for interviews would decrease significantly for those who are living in metropolitan areas. The cons would be that the applicant will have to travel to attend their interview at a more distant field office, possibly in another State. USCIS have yet to announce whether they will honor requests to move interviews to a closer field office, however even if interviews can be moved, the applicant is unlikely to keep their preferential interview date. More information on this new plan will be provided once USCIS release more details.
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