The latest government data shows that US Citizenship and Immigration Services, also known as USCIS, is taking a very long time to review applications.
The revised fee structure proposal, which is likely to increase costs for many visa categories, also included data on the number of hours the agency is taking to process applications. The report portrays high levels of inefficiency, as USCIS adjudicators now take longer to review 82% of forms. This is ultimately affecting the application backlog, which continues to increase. The forms that are taking longer to review make up 86% of the growing application backlog.
So, why is USCIS taking such a long time to review forms? Well, one of the main reasons behind this is that a lot of immigration forms have grown in length in the last couple of decades. Forms that used to have 200 pages in 2003 now have over 700 pages in 2023. To sum it up, the length of up to 93% of USCIS forms has increased since they were introduced.
Consequently, USCIS adjudicators are forced to spend more time reviewing every application due to the increased length and complexity. Plus, visa interviews also consume a lot of time since interviewees now have more information to review and verify.
The application review process has also slowed down due to the steps taken by USCIS to digitize the immigration process. Reviewers find it hard to keep up with the online form submissions. Furthermore, adjudicators who have spent years reviewing hard copies of lengthy forms may find it challenging to go through the same documents on a computer.
According to estimates, 10 million man-hours are required to eliminate the current visa backlog. Additional 3.3 million hours will be needed if adjudicators continue to review applications at their previous paces. Needless to say, the inefficiencies of USCIS are not beneficial for anyone.
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