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Immigration Delays

November 28, 2007

Q : What is the cause of the receipt delay?

The receipt delay was caused by a significant workload increase, in part based upon filings by individuals attempting to beat a planned fee increase and a significant influx of applications associated with visa availability in the Department of State's July 2007 Visa bulletin. This resulted in an influx of applications and fees that exceeded USCIS' capacity to timely issue receipts and deposit application fees.

Q : How does a receipt delay affect my case?

If your case is subject to a receipt delay, this means that USCIS has received your case in its mailroom, but has not yet processed your case. This means that your case information has not been entered into the USCIS case management system and the fee you sent with your application has not yet been deposited. These delays affect USCIS' ability to issue a receipt notice to you. It may also affect the overall time it will take us to make a decision on your application.

Q : Is this why I haven't received my receipt notice?

Yes, it could be. Typically, customers should receive receipt notices within 2 weeks of USCIS receiving their applications. The receipt delay may cause this to take up to 15 weeks for customers to receive receipt notices. USCIS continues to monitor the current intake of applications and will identify application processing dates on its website. To find the latest information, please see the USCIS Application and Receipting Update at http://www.uscis.gov/receiptingtimes.

Q : Is USCIS prioritizing certain application(s) during the receipting process?

Yes. The Application to Adjust Status (I-485) will have first priority because USCIS needs to ensure that these applications are receipted in a timeframe that would allow processing of an application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within 90 days of filing as mandated by law [8 CFR 247a.13(d)]. Our second priority will be to receipt the Application for Naturalization (N-400) so that we can minimize any delays in obtaining citizenship.

Q : What will USCIS do to ensure employment authorization documents are processed within 90 days?

USCIS is working to ensure all Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) are receipted and any accompanying applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) are processed within 90 days. USCIS is realigning its resources to meet this deadline.

Q : If I filed before the new fee change and my application is rejected, do I need to pay the new higher fee?

Yes, unless USCIS rejected your application in error. if you think that your application was rejected in error, you should resubmit your original application, your original check or money order, the cover letter that was included with your returned application and an explanation of the reason why you believe the rejection was in error.

Q : How do I change my address while I am waiting for my receipt number? NEW

The two easiest ways to notify USCIS that you have changed your address are to use the Change of Address Online web page or to call our National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283). For the Change of Address Online web page, you will need to know your receipt number. If you paid your application fee by check, your receipt number will usually be printed on the back of the check when it is cashed by USCIS.

Q : What if I need advance parole? NEW

We anticipate completing the receipting of the I-131 documents by the end of October 2007. Due to the heavy volume of cases, we are encouraging customers to wait until the end of October before inquiring about their case. If special circumstances exist and advance parole is needed quickly, please make an InfoPass appointment to visit your local USCIS office or call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. When you visit the local district office, be prepared to explain the need for urgent travel, provide the U.S. Postal Service tracking number associated with the original application filed, and the date the application was received at the Service Center where you filed.

Q : Will my application be rejected if my check expires? NEW

No. When USCIS receives notice that your check has expired, we will notify you and suspend processing on your case. You will be given an opportunity to send a new check at the original filing rate and filing date to resume processing of your application. USCIS will contact you if your check has been returned to us because it is beyond the expiration date.

Q : I have received my receipt notice, but when I check my case online it does not appear. How do I get my case added to the system, so I can check on the progress of my case? NEW

We have had an unprecedented number of applications filed in the last few months. Our efforts to enter these applications into our systems have caused a delay in the transfer of information from our case control system to the Case Status Online system. We are seeing delays of up to three to four weeks between receipting of your application and its status being available online. We are reviewing solutions to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Q : What do I do if the information on my receipt is incorrect? NEW

The information you provided on your application is entered into our system; however, sometimes an error occurs. If you find that we misspelled your name or made any other error, you should call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request a correction. A USCIS representative will take the information needed to correct the error(s).

Feel free to visit attorney Kamal Nawash for a consultation.

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