During the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was given limited resources from the prior administration to process immigration cases timely, therefore, causing major backlogs and extended processing times. In efforts to resolve this ongoing problem, USCIS implemented new procedures during the last week of March and has reduced major case backlogs.
USCIS introduced a new "cycle time", an internal system that will be used to examine how many days (weeks or months) it takes for a particular application to be processed for a decision. With this, the operational divisions within USCIS can monitor an Immigration Center and/or Field Offices to oversee how efficiently they are operating and managing applications. With an improved cycle time, processing times for each application (such as, but not limited to N400, I-485, 1-130, I-765, I-131, and I-129F) have already become shorter.
Furthermore, USCIS has also taken measures to employ more caseworkers and officers who will be trained to adjudicate applications in a given timeframe. With this new cycle time, requests for work permits, travel documents, and temporary status changes should be completed within three months. Citizenship, and green card (for immigrants sponsored by U.S. family members or employers) requests are expected to be completed within six months. With these new cautionary measures, USCIS has shown great efforts to reduce immigration proceeding delays and ensure shorter processing times.