USCIS can take a long time to process your application, whether it is the U.S. citizenship application process, renewing a green card, or helping relatives become residents. Once you file an application, waiting for a decision can feel like an eternity.
It is easy to get an estimate of how long your application will take.
Why Processing Times Matter
You should always know how long it will generally take to process your application or other requests through the USCIS. When you know how long the processing times are, you can get a better understanding of when you should file your paperwork, so things get done on time.
One thing you don’t want is to get stuck with expired documents or end up waiting longer than you have to for critical things such as your green card or citizenship. By knowing the processing times, you can ensure that you have an ample amount of time to do what you need quickly and efficiently.
Checking Your Processing Time Online
The USCIS allows you to check case processing times on their website. You cannot inquire about processing times over email. When you arrive at the USCIS website, you will see two boxes, one where you select the form you’re filling out and another for the field office or service center.
First, click on the name or number of the form you completed. For example, if you completed a green card renewal, you would select Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
Once you click on the form you’ve submitted, you will need to choose the field office or service center your application is getting processed in. Then click on “Get processing time.” A window like this will appear:
This window clearly states the estimated time range for a green card renewal is 11 to 11.5 months.
The section called “Case Inquiry Date” is important because the USCIS states if your receipt date is before the Case Inquiry Date, you can request an “outside the normal processing time” service request online.
Checking processing time on the USCIS website gives you an approximate time it will take to process your application, however, if you need to know the current status of your application you can use the Check Status tool.
Can I Also Check Processing Times Over the Phone?
If you have a smartphone, you can easily follow the same general steps above on your mobile browser. However, if you want to actually call in to learn about current processing times, you need to reach the USCIS at their toll-free number (800) 375-5283. Follow the instructions, and you’ll be able to find current wait times.
If needed, you can also talk to a representative for more information. Hold times tend to be very long when you call in, so we recommend sticking with the online option and finding out processing times through the USCIS website.
Finding Your Service Center or Field Office
You can find information about your service center or field office in two different ways:
Your USCIS Receipt Number
Your USCIS receipt number will have the service center built into the number. Each number starts with three letters. Those letters indicate the service center handling your application.
In this example, MSC would refer to the Missouri Service Center, now known as the National Benefits Center. The other abbreviations are as follows:
- EAC – Vermont Service Center
- VSC – Vermont Service Center
- YSC – Potomac Service Center
- IOE – ELIS (E-filing)
- MSC – National Benefits Center
- NBC – National Benefits Center
- TSC – Texas Service Center
- SRC – Texas Service Center
- NSC – Nebraska Service Center
- LIN – Nebraska Service Center
- CSC – California Service Center
- WAC – California Service Center
Your Form I-797
Another way to check your service center is to look at the bottom of your Form I-797, Notice of Action. Again, the service center should be printed on the form. Here’s an example:
Why Are Processing Times So Long?
The USCIS handles hundreds of thousands of applications each year. With the sheer number of people trying to become U.S. citizens, a lot of work needs to get done in order to get them processed in a timely manner.
Because of the volume of applications that the USCIS receives, you need to be patient. The application process is long, but so long as you fill out all of the paperwork correctly, all you’ll need to do is sit tight and be patient while they work hard to process your application.
How We Can Help You Determine Your Processing Time
It can be crushing to learn that your application got rejected after all this time of waiting. Avoid the common pitfalls and mistakes first-time applicants make by allowing the experts at FileRight to help you get started.
We provide you with all the resources and information you need to get on the path to citizenship today. Please reach out to us to learn more about how we can assist you on this journey.