A brief update on some key reasons some DACA applications are taking longer to process than others, and why many DACA applications are facing delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
Case-specific Circumstances: DACA petitions are processed on a case-by-case basis, and some take longer to adjudicate based on the individual circumstances of the case. Key reasons why a case may be taking longer to process include:
- Prior Immigration History: If a person has been in immigration court, has had previous immigration filings, or has had other immigration encounters, approval of the application is generally going to take longer as the USCIS officer has to review a longer, more complicated immigration history, and may first have to wait to receive the immigration file(s) from different government agencies.
- Criminal Records: If a person has had any arrest or conviction history or other dealings with the police, the application will take longer to process, even if a person just paid a fine, or had the charges dismissed or dropped.
- Proof of Physical Presence: The fastest proof of physical presence to process is a case where the person is still in school or has just graduated, and has school transcripts covering all of the required periods of physical presence. In contrast, where a person has been out of school longer and/or has to rely on proof other than school transcripts to show physical presence, the case will take longer.
USCIS Processing Procedures: Once DACA petitions are submitted to USCIS, they are distributed to different service centers for processing, where they are assigned to different officers for adjudication. Processing times can vary and different officers complete cases at varying speeds. This is a key reason for differences in the time it takes to approve a case, but where and on whose desk the DACA petition ends up is out of your hands.
USCIS Processing Errors: USCIS deals with a large volume of case, and in a small number of cases, the agency makes errors, leading to additional delays.
The processing time varies based on the strength and complexity of the individual’s case, availability of documents, and the speed and efficiency of the processing service centers and their officers. Because of these factors, while we can tell you the general processing times, it is impossible to predict exactly when a case will be processed, and we appreciate your patience. We will keep clients updated on the status and any developments in their DACA cases.