Revamped Processing Time Approach for Orphan, Hague Applications, Petitions

Effective mid-November, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is implementing a new method for calculating processing times for orphan and Hague adoption cases. This change aims to offer stakeholders more accurate information regarding the overall time required to obtain a decision on their application or petition. The shift aligns with a broader agency-wide initiative to refine processing time calculations across various case types while ensuring a commitment to expeditiously handling intercountry adoption cases. 

The modification involves transitioning from the previous "cycle time" method to the "80% completion" method, offering a more comprehensive view of processing timelines. The USCIS website will reflect these updated times, providing monthly updates based on data from the preceding six months. 

Beginning in mid-November, the reported processing times for specific forms will be as follows: 

  • Form I-600A: 5.5 months 
  • Form I-600: 19.5 months 
  • Form I-800A: 3.5 months 
  • Form I-800: 2 months 

It's crucial to note that processing times determined by this new method may appear substantially longer than those calculated using the previous cycle time approach. The 80% completion method considers instances where applications or petitions are pending due to factors generally beyond USCIS' control, impacting the overall duration for applicants or petitioners to receive a decision. Factors contributing to this extended timeframe include response times to USCIS notices (Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, etc.) and the provision of biometrics. Additionally, since March 2020, applicants and petitioners have benefited from extra time allowances due to agency-wide COVID-19 flexibilities in responding to USCIS notices. 

For orphan petitions, the new method also incorporates the time required by the U.S. Department of State to complete a necessary Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, before USCIS reaches a decision. 

By adopting this new processing time calculation method, which acknowledges case-processing realities generally beyond USCIS' control, the agency aims to enhance transparency and provide adoption stakeholders with a more realistic expectation of the total time involved in receiving a decision. The USCIS remains dedicated to facilitating intercountry adoptions with efficiency and diligence. 

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