U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Wednesday that it has reduced its case backlog but needs continued support from Congress and additional revenue from a new fee rule to maintain progress.

Key Points:

  • In an end-of-year report, the agency said congressional appropriations in fiscal year 2022 were critical to reducing the backlog and providing humanitarian services to nationals of Afghanistan and Ukraine, among other countries.
  • The agency said it needs additional funding to meet its backlog-reduction goals and to implement new initiatives, including implementing premium processing for all petitions for immigrant workers (Form I-140) and certain employment authorization applications (Form I-765) for students and exchange visitors.
  • The agency also said implementing the fee rule would help “prevent the accumulation of new backlogs in the future.” The proposed fee rule cleared White House review last week but has not yet been published. The exact amount of the proposed increases is not yet known. New fees will go through the formal notice-and-comment process and will not take effect for several months.

BAL Analysis: USCIS continues to work through a backlog that has slowed processing times for immigration benefits and has committed to restoring reasonable processing times. In its report, the agency said it would need continued support from Congress and increased fee revenue to maintain its progress. Publication of the proposed fee rule is expected soon, but information is not yet available on what the proposed increases will be. BAL will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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