USCIS Ombudsman Alert on Receipt Notice Delays

When To Request Assistance: USCIS Ombudsman Alert on Receipt Notice Delays

The CIS Ombudsman is reporting that USCIS is taking as long as 8 to 9 weeks to issue receipt notices for some applications and petitions. USCIS states that it is unable to expedite the issuance. The Ombudsman’s office will continue to assist individuals who have not received a receipt 90 days after the actual receipt date at USCIS. If you have not received a receipt notice after 60 days, you should first contact USCIS. If the agency does not respond to your inquiry within 30 days, you may submit a separate request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.

The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) assists individuals and employers in resolving case problems with USCIS. According to the DHS case assistance page, the CIS Ombudsman “reviews individual cases to provide assistance by examining facts, reviewing relevant data systems, and analyzing applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures.” The page also describes the office as a “last resort” and requests that you go to USCIS first before submitting an Ombudsman request. 

The full notice is below.

Alert: USCIS Receipt Notice Delays

The CIS Ombudsman is issuing this alert to notify individuals and employers of USCIS delays in issuing receipt notices from the agency’s Lockbox intake facilities and the actions the CIS Ombudsman is taking to address these delays.

Based on requests for case assistance submitted to our office, USCIS is taking as long as 8 to 9 weeks to issue receipt notices for some applications and petitions.

In response to our attempts to work with USCIS to secure receipt notices, the agency has responded that it is unable to expedite their issuance. We will continue to try to assist individuals who have not received a Notice of Action (Form I-797C) 90 days after their application/petition was received at USCIS. Applicants who have not received a receipt notice within 60 days of filing should first contact USCIS. If USCIS does not respond to your inquiry within 30 days, you may submit a request for case assistance to the CIS Ombudsman.

The CIS Ombudsman is working with USCIS to find solutions to mitigate the harm to applicants impacted by the delays in issuing receipt notices.

USCIS Lockbox Updates

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, USCIS is experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for some applications and petitions filed at a USCIS lockbox facility. The information below explains the current state of lockbox operations and the issues affecting receipt notices.

Current Situation

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, an increase in filings, current postal service volume, and other external factors, you may experience a delay of four to six weeks in receiving your receipt notice after properly filing an application or petition with a USCIS lockbox. These delays will not affect the receipt date which is determined pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 103.2(a)(7). Delays may vary among form types and lockbox locations. In some cases, you may experience significant delays if you filed a non-family based Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, or Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, based on eligibility categories described in 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(c)(3), relating to F-1 students.

The health and safety of our workforce remains a top priority. Across all USCIS offices, including lockbox facilities, the agency has taken necessary measures such as increased social distancing and frequent cleaning in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some lockbox operations in locations that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 must adhere to stricter local guidelines.

What USCIS Is Doing

The USCIS lockbox workforce is working extra hours and redistributing its workload in order to minimize delays. Once we open and process your application, we print and mail the receipt notice. We do not anticipate any receipting delays that would result in a payment that is past its validity date.

For more information, please read USCIS’ announcement.

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