I learned that the average waiting time now for I-526 adjudication is about two years. However, my regional center explained that they have submitted cases in 2018 where the I-526 was approved in only 10 months! Why can some petitions be approved so quickly while others take longer? For instance, I submitted my I-526 about 14 months ago, and my attorney explained it was one of the simplest and most straightforward cases he has seen. What factors can determine the adjudication time for an I-526 case?
There is no clear pattern, as USCIS tends to batch process by project.
Nothing officially (except those projects that received approval for expedited processing), but anecdotally, those projects that already have had a number of I-526 petitions reviewed and approved may go faster. Until your priority date passes the posted inquiry date, there's nothing you can do, unfortunately.
It is really hard to tell. It appears like there are many subjective considerations at play. USCIS publishes average wait times but we have seen many clients who have been approved much faster than that and some much slower than that. You should certainly not be alarmed yet since you have only waited for 14 months. If your project is exemplar approved or already has other I-526s approved, what the USCIS adjudicator will analyze then becomes solely your specific case, such as your source of funds. It takes one layer of project-related analysis off the table that might shorten the time of your individual I-526 approval. Truthfully, there are no guarantees.
USCIS is supposed to group petitions based on a project. It may or may not mean your case will be adjudicated at the same time as others in the project or soon thereafter. Sometimes, certain cases within a project are delayed longer than the others depending on how officers adjudicate their cases, any complexity of your individual source of funds or other issues. Your attorney can make a service request with an IPO office if your case falls outside the published average processing times.
It's very difficult to determine when any particular I-526 petition will be adjudicated. While USCIS will give average waiting times, it only means it is average. Some petitions are approved much faster, some much longer. The difference is attributed to a number of factors, including the individual adjudicator, any particular problem with your individual petition and the ease of approval. For instance, is there an exemplar, are there prior approvals of other I-526 petitions? And without a doubt, there are some elements of luck.
Projects with I-924 or I-526 approvals at the time of filing may result in your case being adjudicated more quickly.
Currently, it takes from 20.5 months to 27 months for I-526 adjudication. In other words, USCIS reviews the petitions filed on Dec. 29, 2016, as of today. It is true that USCIS takes way too long unnecessarily. Hope your case got approved sooner than expected.
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