USCIS Ignores 30-Day H-1B Visa Processing Limit Set By Congress

Likely the most violated section of U.S. immigration law is the “sense of Congress” passed in the year 2000 that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should process H-1B petitions within 30 days. Nearly two decades later, USCIS virtually never meets a 30-day deadline (without employers paying $1,410 extra for premium processing) and many H-1B applications can take up to a year. Attorneys believe H-1B processing takes so long because the agency requires things Congress never intended.

“The Agency’s explosion of processing times raises the question: Is USCIS relying ‘on factors which Congress has not intended it to consider’ when adjudicating H-1B visas?” asked plaintiff’s attorneys Jonathan Wasden and Bradley Banias in the lawsuit ITServe Alliance v. USCIS. (See here for a detailed discussion of the case.)

At the Vermont Service Center, processing times are 10 to 13 months for an H-1B petition involving a change of status or a visa issued abroad. At the California Service Center, H-1B processing times range from 7.5 to 9.5 months.

“These numbers make clear that USCIS has made changes in the past two years in disregard of its statutory mandates, and has become fixated on adding unnecessary procedures that add little to fraud detection but are having measurable adverse effects on processing times,” William Stock, a founding member of Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP, told me in an interview.

By Stuart Anderson for FORBES

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