USCIS Processing Times Webpage Redesign

From: ProcessingTimesFeedback <ProcessingTimesFeedback@uscis.dhs.gov>
Sent: May 11, 2022 5:18 PM
To: Suzanne Lazicki <suzanne@lucidtext.com>
Subject: RE: USCIS Processing Times Webpage Redesign Webinar

Excellent feedback!

Thank you,

USCIS

From: Suzanne Lazicki <suzanne@lucidtext.com>
Sent: May 11, 2022 4:54 PM
To: ‘ProcessingTimesFeedback@uscis.dhs.gov’ <ProcessingTimesFeedback@uscis.dhs.gov>
Subject: USCIS Processing Times Webpage Redesign Webinar

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback for the USCIS Processing Times Webpage Redesign Webinar to be held on May 12, 2022. I appreciated the announcement on May 5 that USCIS is Simplifying, Improving Communication of Case Processing Data. I would like to point out the following issues that make the new processing times report design not clear, not transparent, not meaningful, and not helpful.

  1. The https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ page now reports a number that is apparently arbitrary. What is relevant about 80%? Why not report the median age of recent completions? (The USCIS historical processing times report gives the median, which is logically more indicative of “normal” and “average” processing.) Why not the first and third quartile? (That would at least be meaningful statistically.) Why not 93%? (Significant if the threshold for case inquiry.) What possible justification/explanation is there for choosing to report 80% on this page? Unless explained, it would appear the USCIS chose 80% to 1) cover up the major deviations from FIFO processing that had been exposed by the previous “estimated time range” method, 2) prevent petitioner inquiries by not reporting median or average processing, and 3) confuse and disguise the derivation of the Case Inquiry Date, which is not calculated from the 80% month.  I suggest that this page would be more meaningful if it reported the median (or even better, the median and the average) age of recently-adjudicated cases. The number of months used to calculate the Case Inquiry Date should also be disclosed.
  2. The https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/ page is not clear or transparent about the Case Inquiry Date – the single most important piece of information on the page. The “get inquiry date” tool on this page uses a month multiplier that is not disclosed, and is not equal to the 80% month reported on the page. The page vaguely says “we only allow inquiries for cases that are well outside the processing time listed above.”  To be transparent, this page needs to state “93% of recent adjudications were completed within ___ months,” and then explain that this number of months is used to calculate the case inquiry date.
  3. The case inquiry date and answer to the question “When can I ask about my case” are both unreasonable.   To protect USCIS from Mandamus litigation (which must be much more expensive to the agency than individual inquiries), the processing times report needs to define a reasonable boundary for “normal” processing. Outside the 93rd percentile is too-obviously a boundary for extreme outliers, not a definition of what’s normal – especially given the well-documented spread of processing times. For example, for Form I-829, the historical times page gives a median of 41.5 months in 2022, and the I-829 Case Inquiry Date is calculated at 64.8 months. What judge will believe that a I-829 petitioner should have to wait 15 months longer than the median processing time to even inquire about case status? The 64.8-month case inquiry boundary in the processing times report is too-blatantly unreasonable, and appears to be arbitrarily set to prevent inquires.
  4. Strictly speaking, the processing times report simply and only reports past performance. But the USCIS Report and More Info pages do not speak strictly, but as if the past performance numbers were true for all time and predictive for the future.
    1. “We display case processing times for select forms and locations to let you know how long it generally takes to process benefit requests.” This sentence conflates “how long it has recently taken” with “how long it generally takes.” This conflation is false and misleading, implying a status quo where none exists. USCIS has a history of large processing time fluctuations, and actively plans on processing time changes going forward. The sentence had better be “We display case processing times for select forms and locations to let you know how long it has recently taken to process benefit requests.”
    2. “80% of cases are completed within”  This language is misleading, when in fact the number only represents “the amount of time it took us to complete 80% of adjudicated cases over the last six months.” At minimum, the verb “are” should be replaced with “were” or “have been.” Or could replace “80% of cases are completed within”  with “80% of recent adjudications completed were within”
    3. “The earliest you can submit questions is _____. Please do not contact us before this date.” This statement has two problems: it directly uses past performance to predict future results, and it implies that the date given in the sentence is a firm barrier not subject to constant change. The sentence copies the time it took to complete 93% of adjudications over the past six months and pastes it into the future, which is only meaningful if USCIS plans for no improvements over past performance. But USCIS does plan improvements, so the prediction is not meaningful. And it is not even a prediction, given that a petitioner consulting the page from month to month will see the “earliest you can submit questions” sentence populated with ever-changing dates that fluctuate forward and backward in time depending on recent adjudications. To make the sentence transparent and meaningful, better to say something like “You may not submit questions until your case has been pending longer than __% of recent adjudications. If your receipt date is before _______, you may submit questions.” It’s meaningless to give a sentence that predicts a future date, if the given date is not actually intended or usable as a prediction.
  5. USCIS announced new cycle time goals on March 29, 2022 for multiple forms. If USCIS is serious about making progress toward these cycle time goals, and willing to be transparent and responsible to the public, USCIS should regularly publish current cycle times for those forms.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at suzanne@lucidtext.com (626) 660-4030.

19 Responses to USCIS Processing Times Webpage Redesign

  1. RG says:

    HI Suzanne, Do you have a service for NVC processing times, as you did with USCIS prediction?

  2. Dil says:

    Hi Suzanne, Good comments and glad to see them getting recognized by USCIS.

    The biggest problem with the processing time disclosure is that it is backward looking. It says nothing about how long they will take in the future to work through the waiting petitions. Disclosing what USCIS adjudicated in the last six months (whether median, quartiles, 93% or whatever) is meaningless to the investor waiting for his or her adjudication. This “last 6 months” data is only useful to indicate the improvement or deterioration in the efficiency of USCIS, and only if tracked over a longer time.

    The best way to give a forward-looking indicator, and one that is meaningful for the waiting investors, is to publish a spread of pending applications. That way, one can at least see how many more are waiting before oneself (assuming FIFO). If USCIS is really serious about improving disclosure to help EB-5 petitioners, it should publish (a) number of I526 petitions, broken down by country and priority date, and (b) number of I-485 petitions, broken down by country and priority date.

    I will write to USCIS with these points. Thank you as ever for your tireless push to make things better for investors.

  3. Faree says:

    Uscis are not connecting the calls on their given number and neither send i 130 further update after 6 months .if they dnt need anything about the applicant then they should accept the cases according to the new cycle goals. Seriously they are not connecting the calls and not connected with live agent through emma .and j dnt understand i 824 is already approved petitiin wjy they are taking so much time to send it to the nvc.
    We r not satisfied with the new processing times design because before that they show minimum and maximum time

    • Emran says:

      Hello Suzanne,
      My I-526 was approved in November 2021. And I already received EAD Combo card. And just complete biometric on may 9th. And today I notice, I-526 has been updated with: Case Was Sent To The Department of State
      On May 12, 2022, we sent your case, Receipt Number WAC2090004xxx, to the Department of State for visa processing. You can find general information on Consular Processing by visiting our website at http://www.uscis.gov . The website will provide information on what to do next, who to contact, and how to inform us of any changes in your situation or address.
      So does it mean I’m close to receiving GC?

      Thank you

      • Shawn says:

        @Emran your i526 approval was based on the Direct EB5 visa?

      • UN says:

        In my understanding, you can initiate C Processing also by paying the Fee bill that NVC raises. If the interview gets scheduled in your home country before your AOS I-485 approval, you have the choice to opt for CP

      • Bunuel Yang says:

        I have received an interview notice from the US Embassy in Taiwan on June 30.

        • Vishan L says:

          Hi Bunuel Yang. Congratulations. Are you a RC investor ? When was your I 526 approved ? When was you case documentary Qualified at NVC ?. Trying to get some NVC estimates. My I 526 was Approved Sept 2021 and DQ at NVC on 22nd and waiting for an interview. Thanks

  4. RC says:

    What’s the current RC based I-526 PD USCIS is processing? Any idea??

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