Starting in mid-November, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will change how we calculate processing times for orphan and Hague cases. These changes provide stakeholders better information about the total time it may take to receive a decision on their application or petition and are consistent with an agency-wide shift in how processing times for other cases are calculated. Most importantly, USCIS remains committed to processing intercountry adoption cases as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Changes Starting in Mid-November
We are transitioning our orphan and Hague case processing times from the previous method (“cycle time”) to a new method (“80% completion”). For more information on these methods, see Background, below.
Starting in mid-November, our website will reflect the following times, which we will update monthly with data from the previous six months:
Some processing times calculated using this new method may appear significantly longer than before. For example, the processing time currently posted for all orphan and Hague adoption cases using the previous cycle time method is 2.5 months. The new 80% completion method includes times where an application or petition is pending due to factors that are generally outside USCIS’ control that impact the total time it may take an applicant or petitioner to receive a decision on their case. For intercountry adoption cases, these factors include the time it takes for an applicant or petitioner to respond to USCIS notices (Requests for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, etc.) and to provide biometrics. Since March 2020, applicants and petitioners have also had extra time due to agency-wide COVID-19 flexibilities to respond to USCIS notices. For many orphan petitions, another factor that the new method reflects is the time needed for the U.S. Department of State to complete a required Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, before a USCIS decision.
Reporting processing times using this new method, which includes case-processing realities generally outside USCIS’ control, will better prepare and inform all adoption stakeholders of the total time it may take to receive a decision.
USCIS is conducting an agency-wide effort to continue reducing backlogs across all form types and is committed to providing greater transparency in our processing times. Some forms, including our orphan and Hague forms, still use an earlier cycle time method that measures how many months’ worth of cases are awaiting a decision for a particular form. One of the tools we are using to provide more transparency is a new method to calculate case processing times. Most forms on our case processing times page now use this new method, which reflects the length of time in which 80% of cases were completed based on data from the previous six months.
In closing, we recognize the importance of communication and engagement with our adoption stakeholders and appreciate your continued partnership. We continue to provide adoption stakeholders with a direct line to USCIS to engage on their intercountry adoption cases through the National Benefits Center Adoptions Unit. We also continue to welcome your policy suggestions at [email protected].
For additional information on intercountry adoption, visit our Adoption page. For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.