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USCIS Reduced Its Backlog for the First Time in Over a Decade

USCIS completed over 10 million cases in 2023.

This information is according to a press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The press release states:

The press release explains that USCIS received 10.9 million filings and completed “more than 10 million” cases. It is is difficult to understand how USCIS could have reduced its backlog if it completed less cases than were added to the backlog in 2023. However the math works USCIS claims it has reduced its overall backlog by 15%. The graph to the left is from the press release.

Cycle Times

USCIS states that in March 2022 new internal cycle time goals were established for 25 forms to guide the agency’s backlog reduction efforts. A cycle time measures how many months’ worth of pending cases for a particular form are awaiting a decision and are used to gauge progress on reducing backlogs. As cycle times improve, processing times will follow, and applicants and petitioners will receive decisions on their cases more quickly.

USCIS states that it achieved the cycle time goal for nine of the forms, including naturalization. Further, USCIS claims it reduced cycle times for all but one of the 25 forms that were identified. 

USCIS notes that it achieved these time reductions at the same time it was receiving a record number of new cases and responding to growing humanitarian needs around the world.

USCIS predicts that it will continue reduce processing times and will work to achieve the stated cycle time goals. Displayed below is the data from a select number of those 25 forms. The full data set for all 25 forms is available from USCIS.


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