The USCIS has released new quarterly data that pertains to applications approved and denied in the family based, employment based, naturalization, and legal permanent residence categories. The data pertains to the 4th quarter of 2021, or Q4, which ran from October 1st to December 31st. In addition to providing approval and denial rates, the USCIS has also provided average processing times on all of their forms in Q4. Let’s take a closer look to see which forms are processing the fastest as we enter a new fiscal year.

Family Based Immigration

In terms of family based immigration, the quickest form that was adjudicated by USCIS officers in Q4 was the I-129F, the Petition for an Alien Fiancé. Applicants in this category saw a processing time of approximately 8 months. On the flipside, the longest processing time in the family based category was the I-601A Waiver. This is the waiver used my immigrant visa applicants who have a U.S. citizen relative/legal permanent resident in the U.S., but also need to file a waiver for their unlawful presence in the U.S. to remain eligible for an immigrant visa. Average processing times for this application in Q4 were approximately 20 months.

Employment Based Immigration

The employment based categories present a wide range of different processing times, unlike the family based section where it is expected for most applications to take at least 9 months. For example, for non-immigrant applicants, one of the quickest forms is the I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant worker. It took the USCIS on average 2 months in Q4 to adjudicate these forms. In similar fashion, there was an average processing time of 5 months for work permit applicants in Q4.

Meanwhile immigrant petitions took much longer. For example, the I-140, the Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker took an average of 10 months, and an immigrant petition for an Alien investor had a record processing time of 40 months.


The N-400 is the form that needs to be completed in advance of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. In Q4, processing times for the N-400 were on average 11 months. However applicants should be aware that having your N-400 approved does not confer citizenship automatically. This is simply the time stated for the USCIS to either “approve” or “decline” your application. If you are approved, you then move onto the English and Civics portion of the process, as well as the Oath of Allegiance. Additionally, these two components could add several months to the time it takes to be officially registered as a U.S. citizen.

Miscellaneous Forms

Finally, some USCIS forms that don’t pertain to employment in the U.S. but are absolutely essential include the I-90, Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card, as well as the “Waivers” category which corresponds to Forms I-191, I-192, I-212, I-601, I-602, and I-612 and usually deal with applicants applying for a waiver due to inadmissibility concerns. The I-90 on average took 7.6 months to replace, which is fairly long and should serve as a reminder to file for a new green card in advance. It also took the USCIS on average 6.5 months to approve or decline “Waivers”, as mentioned above, meaning that applying for a waiver due to unlawfulness could add significant wait time to ones USCIS application.