Processing of fee payments as well as entry of cases into the tracking system has been set back due to a spike in the number of filed applications. Processing delays will not affect applicants’ Change of Status or Extension of Stay eligibility if all other eligibility requirements are met. Premium Processing is unaffected.
The date applications are received in the mailroom of USCIS will be honored on the I-797, Notice of Action. USCIS will continue to publish weekly updates on the progress of receipt notice processing.
To provide additional information to applicants about these expected delays, USCIS posted on its website a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and corresponding answers. The following are the key points addressed in the answers to the FAQs:
- The delays in sending out receipt notices were caused by an influx of applications that exceeded USCIS’s capacity to issue timely receipts. The increase consisted mainly of applications from individuals attempting to avoid a planned fee increase and applications associated with visa availability in the Department of State’s July 2007 Visa Bulletin.
- To eliminate the receipt delay as quickly as possible, USCIS has realigned resources, reassigned government personnel, and hired contract employees.
- The case information of individuals whose applications are subject to a receipt delay has not been entered into the USCIS case management system, and those individuals’ application fees have not been deposited. These delays might affect the overall time USCIS takes to render a decision on such applications.
- Typically, applicants would receive receipt notices within two weeks of USCIS’s receipt of their applications, but the receipt delay might cause delays of up to 12 weeks for adjustment-of-status applications and up to 15 weeks for naturalization and other applications. To find the latest information on the delays in receiving notices of receipt (by application type), applicants should visit the USCIS web site or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.
- In processing the backlog of applications, USCIS is giving priority to Applications to Adjust Status (I-485) because USCIS must ensure that applicants receive notices of receipt within a timeframe that would allow processing of an application for an Employment Authorization Document within 90 days of filing as mandated by law. USCIS’s second priority will be to process Applications for Naturalization (N-400) so as to minimize any delays in obtaining citizenship.
- If an individual filed an application before the new fee change was instituted and his or her application is rejected, the individual will be required to pay the new higher fee. If the applicant believes that USCIS erroneously rejected his or her application, he or she should resubmit the original application, the original check or money order, the cover letter that accompanied the original application, and an explanation of the reason why he or she believes the rejection was in error.
- The receipt delays might affect an applicant’s ability to travel outside the United States. If the applicant leaves the country prior to the completion of the receipting process and does not have the appropriate travel documents, he or she might have difficulty returning to the United States.
- Applicants who have not received a receipt number for their applications still may submit a change of address. Applicants who paid by check may update their addresses using USCIS’ Change of Address Online. Such applicants should find the 13-digit USCIS receipt number (e.g., ABC 01 23456789) on the back of the cancelled check that was returned to the applicant through his or her bank. The applicant should use that 13-digit number when prompted for his or her receipt number. Applicants who paid by money order can report their changes of address by calling USCIS’s National Customer Service Center at 1-800- 375-5283.