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Immigration Law Associates, PC

What is the Status of Backlogged 21,000 Family Based Petitions (I-130)?

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Due to a huge backlog in processing pending I-130 petitions in November 2010, USCIS transferred approximately 36,000 I-130 petitions from their California Service Center to their Texas Service Center. USCIS hoped that this redistribution of work would result in more timely adjudication of these petitions.

However, according to USCIS, due to a number of unforeseen circumstances at their Texas Service Center, many of these cases have not been processed and are beyond the estimated processing times. On Feb. 7, 2011, USCIS announced a rapid response plan to expedite the adjudication of these  petitions.   Ironically, the rapid response plan has been to transfer a “large number of these Immediate Relative petitions back to [their] California Service Center to take advantage of resources currently available”. USCIS has indicated that petitioners will see an action such as an approval, denial or a Request for Evidence (RFE) on their case from the California or Texas Service Centers by March 1, yet this has not happened!

Also, as of February 14, 2011, USCIS provided an update on the processing status of these 36,000 cases: 10,264 have been approved; 55 have been denied; 4,137 have been issued a request for evidence or notice of intent to deny; and 408 have been referred to a local USCIS office for interview. Based on thee numbers, it seems that USCIS is less than halfway through reviewing these 36,000 I-130 petitions.

If you are an American citizen you have two ways to bring your foreign spouse (husband or wife) to the United States to live. They are:

1. Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) – An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required.

2. Nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) – It is important to note that application for the nonimmigrant visa for spouse (K-3) who married a U.S. citizen must be filed and the visa must be issued in the country where the marriage took place.  After the visa process has been completed, and the visa is issued, the spouse can travel to the United States to wait for the processing of the immigrant visa case. Two petitions are required:

– Petition for Alien Relative, Form 1-130; and
– Petition for Alien Fiancé (e), Form I-129F

Please contact Beach-Oswald, expert immigration attorneys in the Washington, DC area, for help with immigration and visa matters.

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