USCIS Processing Times

2022 USCIS Processing times: Bad news for All !! 

If your case has been in process during 2022, you are probably pretty disappointed when learning how USCIS processing timelines have deteriorated from previous Years. Currently it is taking around a year for spouse and fiancee application and much longer for green card and removal of conditions applications.

Previously USCIS got their work done much faster. Their policy for processing was to complete review of cases within five months or less. For a short while during the Obama administration many of our cases passed USCIS in only three months.

During the Trump administration, the executive branch deliberately slowed immigration. The policy for what was expected processing time, stretched to 7 months.

Sadly the good old days are gone. Under President Biden, currently in 2022, most cases for fiancé and spouse visas are taking over a year, just to get through USCIS.

And for Fiance or Spouse Visas, after USCIS approval the State Department takes over and typically another 6 months are generally added before your partner gets the chance to visit a US consulate for the final interview before visa issuance.

NEW Definition for “normal processing time

Previously when the policy was a standard target, such as five months, at month 6, an applicant could reach out to USCIS reporting that the case is late, past normal processing time, and initiate an internal review to hopefully speed things up.

USCIS officers worked against a clear policy deadline. During the Trump administration The policy turnaround time stretched to seven months. Then an applicant could complain at around month eight.  And hopefully get some positive feedback.

No longer is USCIS applying this simple guideline, for how long they should take with a case. Instead, they review each service center, measure how long that service center is already taking for 80% of their cases to complete processing. Then the policy states that “the current performance” is also performance standard. This means that regardless of how slow a center is performing, there Is no pressure to speed things up, only to continue at their current pace.

The performance is measured on an ongoing basis, so if processing slows down, the target slows as well. So whatever is happening, is by definition NORMAL. USCIS does not aim for an efficiency target, instead whatever pace they have, is ok. There is no incentive to improve.

USCIS posts online current processing times

One would have hoped that this visibility is for the applicant’s benefit, so that the applicant knows what to expect. However the real purpose of the posted information is to create a guideline to control the applicant, by enforcing a “DO NOT CONTACT US (USCIS)” by
posting the lackluster performance that USCIS Is at, and stating
the application is not ALLOWED to inquire/complain about his or her case until a few months past the current experience.

To legitimize their new system, USCIS posted a widget at their website that you can visit to learn how slow your case is expected to take and how long after that expected timing, you are allowed to complain.

As of August 24, 2022 the following are the “expected” times for USCIS processing of Fiance and Spouse Visas. The first column is the time it takes for 80% of case review to be completed, the second is the earliest an applicant is ALLOWED to chase his or her case.


Fiancee Visa 80%  of Cases Complete within Earliest time after which Inquiry/Complaint
can be filed
California 13.5 months 15 months
Nebraska 4.5 months 6 months
Potomac 4.5 months 7 months
Texas 23 months 15 months
Vermont 5.5 months 31 months



Spouse Visa 80% of Cases Complete within Earliest time after which
Inquiry/Complaint can be filed
California 10.5 months 13 months
Nebraska 10.5 months 13.5 months
Potomac 12 months 15 months
Texas 11.5 months 15 months
Vermont 16 months 21 months

As the above table shows there is a wide variety of performance results from the different processing centers.

Some centers seem to be unusually fast, some unusually slow.. The
stats are a bit misleading, as the majority of cases will go through California, and only a few ever actually are sent to one of the other

Can you choose which center for your case?

It would be awesome to be able to select the fastest center to process your case, sorry, but that option is not available. All cases are first submitted to designated lockboxes. Once at the lockbox, a clerk decides to which processing center to forward your case.This is ostensibly to balance the load, so that all centers should have about the same performance. As the tables above show, such load balancing is not working out too well.

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