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USCIS FAQ on Receipt Delays

October 22nd, 2007

From USCIS.gov.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises customers that, due to a tremendous increase in the number of applications filed, processing of fee payments and entry of cases into our tracking system is behind schedule. As a result, applicants can expect notices of receipt to be delayed. USCIS is working hard to deal with the increased volume and has published the following frequently asked questions in order to provide additional information to applicants.

What is the cause of the receipt delay?

The receipt delay was caused by a significant workload increase, in part based upon filings by individuals attempting to beat a planned fee increase and a significant influx of applications associated with visa availablility [sic] in the Department of State’s July 2007 Visa bulletin. This resulted in an influx of applications and fees that exceeded USCIS’ capacity to timely issue receipts and deposit application fees.

How does a receipt delay affect my case?
If your case is
subject to a receipt delay, this means that USCIS has received your
case in its mailroom, but has not yet processed your case. This means
that your case information has not been entered into the USCIS case
management system and the fee you sent with your application has not
yet been deposited. These delays affect USCIS’ ability to issue a
receipt notice to you. It may also affect the overall time it will take
us to make a decision on your application.

Is this why I haven’t received my receipt notice?

Yes, it could be. Typically, customers should recieve receipt
notices within 2 weeks of USCIS receiving their applications. The
receipt delay may cause this to take up to 15 weeks for customers to
receive receipt notices. USCIS continues to monitor the current intake
of applications and will identify application processing dates on its
website. To find the latest information, please see the USCIS
Application and Receipting Update at http://www.uscis.gov/receiptingtimes.

Is USCIS prioritizing certain application(s) during the receipting process?

Yes. The Application to Adjust Status (I-485) will have first
priority because USCIS needs to ensure that these applications are
receipted in a timeframe that would allow processing of an application
for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within 90 days of filing
as mandated by law [8 CFR 247a.13(d)]. Our second priority will be to
receipt the Application for Naturalization (N-400) so that we can
minimize any delays in obtaining citizenship.

What will USCIS do to ensure employment authorization documents are processed within 90 days?

USCIS is working to ensure all Applications for Adjustment of
Status (I-485) are receipted and any accompanying applications for
employment authorization documents (EADs) are processed within 90 days.
USCIS is realigning its resources to meet this deadline.

How is USCIS planning to address this receipting delay?

USCIS is realigning its resources to eliminate the receipt delay as
quickly as possible. This effort includes increasing the number of
contract employees, as well as requiring significant mandatory overtime
and shift work. USCIS also has temporarily detailed Government staff to
centers that have been affected the most by the large influx of cases.

If I filed before the new fee change and my application is rejected, do I need to pay the new higher fee?

Yes, unless USCIS rejected your application in orror [sic]. if
[sic] you think that your application was rejected in error, you should
resubmit your original application, your original check or money order,
the cover letter that was included with your returned application and
an explanation of the reason why you believe the rejection was in
error.

How do I find out if my application is a part of the receipting delay?

USCIS has developed a web page at http://www.uscis.gov/receiptingtimes
specifically to address any receipt delay concerns. This page provides
general information about your application type. In addition, USCIS
representatives are available at the National Customer Service Center
(1-800-375-5283) to assist callers with general information about the
process.

Will this affect my ability to travel? (Revised 10/12)

Possibly, if you leave the country prior to the completion of the
receipting process and do not have the appropriate travel documents,
you may have difficulty returning to the United States. For more
information, please visit the Emergency Travel page of our site.

How do I change my address while I am waiting for my receipt number? (New)

The two easiest ways to notify USCIS that you have changed your
address are to use the Change of Address Online web page or to call our
National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283).  For the Change of
Address Online web page, you will need to know your receipt number.  If
you paid your application fee by check, your receipt number will
usually be printed   on the back of the check when it is cashed by
USCIS.

What if I need advance parole? (New)

We anticipate completing the receipting of the I-131 documents by
the end of October 2007.  Due to the heavy volume of cases, we are
encouraging customers to wait until the end of October before inquiring
about their case.  If special circumstances exist and advance parole is
needed quickly, please make an InfoPass appointment
to visit your local USCIS office or call the National Customer Service
Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283.  When you visit the local district
office, be prepared to explain the need for urgent travel, provide the
U.S. Postal Service tracking number associated with the original
application filed, and the date the application was received at the
Service Center where you filed.

Will my application be rejected if my check expires? (New)

No.  When USCIS receives notice that your check has expired, we
will notify you and suspend processing on your case.  You will be given
an opportunity to send a new check at the original filing rate and
filing date to resume processing of your application.  USCIS will
contact you if your check has been returned to us because it is beyond
the expiration date.

I have received my receipt notice, but
when I check my case online it does not appear. How do I get my case
added to the system, so I can check on the progress of my case?
(New)
We
have had an unprecedented number of applications filed in the last few
months.  Our efforts to enter these applications into our systems have
caused a delay in the transfer of information from our case control
system to the Case Status Online system.  We are seeing delays of up to
three to four weeks between receipting of your application and its
status being available online.  We are reviewing solutions to resolve
the situation as soon as possible.

If I filed before July
30 and there is a problem with the check I used to pay my application
fees, will I have to pay the new higher fees when I reapply?
(New)

If USCIS is notified that your check for an application fee has
been returned due to insufficient funds, your case will be placed in
suspense.   You will be notified by mail and asked to submit a new
payment along with a $30 administrative fee.   If you do so within 14
days, USCIS will honor the original filing date and processing of your
case will continue.

What do I do if the information on my receipt is incorrect? (New)

The information you provided on your application is entered into
our system; however, sometimes an error occurs.   If you find that we
misspelled your name or made any other error, you should call the
National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request a
correction.  A USCIS representative will take the information needed to
correct the error(s).

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