USCIS announced today that it is implementing a new strategy to decrease differences in processing times based on location for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Since the end of 2015, there has been an increase in processing times due to higher than expected volumes received during fiscal years (FY) 2016 and 2017 that did not decrease as originally projected. FY 2017 receipts were up 15.6% from FY 2016, and FY 2016 receipts were up 25.5% from FY 2015. The increased filing volumes did not affect all field offices equally, which resulted in some disparity in the processing times among field offices.
USCIS will begin shifting caseloads between field offices to decrease processing times. This may result in applicants being scheduled to appear for an interview at a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. Applicants may receive an interview appointment notice or other types of notices (such as a Request for Evidence) from a field office outside of their normal jurisdiction. However, these caseload changes will not affect where applicants attend their biometrics appointments. Biometrics will still be done at the nearest application support center.
A plan to reduce processing times for N-400s and I-485s is welcome news as many applicants remain waiting for close to two years in some locations.