In this blog, we will take a closer look at USCIS processing times for various forms and applications. Processing times are a central issue right now in U.S. immigration due to long wait times being experienced by applicants seeking various benefits in the United States.
I-765, Work Permit Authorization
The I-765 is the employment authorization application, or more commonly known as the work permit application. Based on where you file your I-765 application will absolutely change your predicted wait time given the differing volume of wait times the USCIS receives monthly.
Right now the California Service Center, as of April 2022, still has the longest processing time for any of the service centers. Applicants can expect to wait between 7.5 to 14 months on average if they submit their work permit application in California. Applicants will generally have shorter wait times if they are the spouse of an H-1B visa holder (current wait times are 7.5 to 11 months), or if they are the spouse of an L-1 visa holder (current wait times are 8.5 to 12 months).
The Texas Service Center has the fastest processing time currently for work permit applications. This processing center has significantly reduced their backlog for this application and most applicants when filing in Texas can expect to wait between 2-13 months for a response from the USCIS. Those who have an approved asylum application only have a current wait time of 2-3 months in Texas.
I-485, Adjustment of Status Application
The I-485 adjustment of status application has some of the longest wait times out of any USCIS application. Applicants who are filing an I-485 application are easily waiting at least 12 months based on current wait times. The biggest piece of advice that applicants should follow when filing their I-485 application is to follow this USCIS chart to make sure you are mailing your completed I-485 to the right processing center: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms/direct-filing-addresses-for-form-i-485-application-to-register-permanent-residence-or-adjust-status. You will experience processing delays if you do not mail your application to the appropriate filing location.
I-129, Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker
Applicants seeking an H1-B visa, or a renewal on their current visa can also use the Case Processing Times link. Right now the Texas Service Center has fast processing times for H1-B visa applicants, extension of stay applicants, and change of status applicants in the U.S. (2-4 month processing time).
Wait times for the same categories of applicants are significantly longer at the California Service Center (an average of 7.5 to 9 months). In addition, average wait times for an H1-B applicant change of status in the U.S. is 2-4 at the Vermont Service Center, and 4.5 to 6 months for an extension of stay in the U.S.
I-539, Application to Change/Extend Non-Immigrant Status
The application to extend/change your non-immigrant status is highly important for temporary residents living in the United States. Right now, wait times for an I-539 are longer than pre-pandemic wait times. The overall wait time associated with an I-539 ranges from 9.5 to 17 months.
Overall, F, M, and J exchange students tend to have the longest processing time out of any of the I-539 filing categories, with applicants typically waiting at least 12 months to hear back from the USCIS. H4 dependents, no matter if they are processing in California, Texas, or Vermont, will have a slightly lesser wait time ranging from 7.5 to 12 months.
For more information, or to see a specific wait time associated with your case, please see the following link: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. Make sure that you use both drop menus provided, the first being the form you are filing, or have pending with the USCIS, as well as the Service Center where it is processing.