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USCIS reduced its case backlog by 15% in FY 2023

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Immigration

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal agency tasked with administering lawful immigration in the United States. It handles petitions for naturalization and permanent residency and adjudicates asylum claims. The agency is also responsible for issuing family and employment-based visas. By the end of the 2022 fiscal year, the USCIS processing backlog had surpassed 5 million cases. The backlog is made up of immigration cases that are not resolved during target processing times. On Feb. 9, the agency announced that its backlog has been reduced by more than 760,000 cases.

Record numbers of filings and completions

In its 2023 fiscal year report, USCIS announced that it had received 10.9 immigration filings and resolved more than 10 million pending immigration cases. Both of these figures are records according to the agency. Those case completions reduced the USCIS backlog by 15%, and many of them were petitions for naturalization. The number of naturalizations completed has exceeded the number of naturalization petitions since 2021, and the approximately 875,000 immigrants who became U.S. citizens in FY 2023 effectively eliminated the naturalization backlog according to USCIS.

Employment-based immigration

USCIS also issued more than 192,000 general employment visas in FY 2023. For the second consecutive year, the agency issued every employment-based visa allowed by federal law. The eligibility requirements for EB-1 immigrant visa applicants were clarified by USCIS in FY 2023, and the validity period for submitting Employment Authorization Documents was extended to five years.

Improving service and shortening processing times

USCIS has shortened processing times and reduced its case backlog at a time when the agency received the most immigration filings in its history. This was accomplished by improving service and deploying new tools including a system that allows applicants to reschedule biometric appointments online. USCIS also introduced an expedited change of address process.