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  • aaronaisen

The USCIS Backlog Grows

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

If USCIS seems to be taking a long to adjudicate your green card or other immigration application, it might be because the backlog of applications is growing with no end in sight. A recent report by the CATO Institute (“CATO Report”) reports that USCIS is currently working through a backlog of over 8.8 million applications, and the problem is getting worse. This means an increase in wait times.


For example, the CATO Report states, “The average of the median processing times across all forms for which DHS-USCIS reports data increased threefold—from less than 4 months in 2012 to over a year in 2022.” The report breaks down how many applications are pending in each of the following broad categories:


· About 1.2 million applicants await some humanitarian status, e.g., asylum, temporary protected status, and nonimmigrant status for crime victims.

· Nearly 900,000 legal permanent residents trying to renew or replace green cards.

· Over 850,000 naturalization and citizenship applications.

· Nearly 800,000 new green card or adjustments of status to permanent residence applications.

· Almost 560,000 applications seeking waivers of grounds of inadmissibility and changes or extensions of nonimmigrant status.

· Over 530,000 travel authorization applications.

· Almost 179,000 employer petitions.


Notwithstanding the back log, USCIS has an obligation to timely decide these applications. For example, USCIS has an obligation to decide any naturalization application within 120 days of the examination (which is your interview). Please see my blog post on processing times here.


If your application has been pending for a significant amount of time, please contact me today to determine whether a petition for a writ of mandamus is appropriate in your case.

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