June 10

USCIS Updates and Green Card Backlog Reduction

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Immigrant Voices in Action


  • Streamlined Process
  • Reduced Delays
  • Backlog Decrease
  • Clear Guidelines


  • Unclear Preferences
  • Documentation Required
  • Follow-up Needed
  • More Professional Help

Quick Fact:

In May 2024, the USCIS introduced new guidelines for family visa petitions, and the NVC reported a 4% reduction in the green card backlog, decreasing from 35,624 to 33,307 cases.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced new guidelines to streamline family visa petitions, and the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) reported a reduction in the green card backlog. These developments aim to improve the efficiency of the immigration system, making the process smoother for applicants.

New Guidelines for Family Visa Petitions

USCIS has updated the guidelines for family-based immigrant visa petitions to reduce delays and enhance efficiency. These changes primarily affect the filing process for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, (USCIS).

Key Changes

  • Form I-130 Requirements: Applicants must provide their current address and state their preference for consular processing or adjustment of status when filing Form I-130.
  • Discretionary Decisions by USCIS: If the petition does not clearly state the beneficiary’s preference, USCIS will use discretion to decide how to process the petition, based on evidence of the beneficiary’s location.

Impact on Family Visa Applications

Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status

  • Consular Processing: The beneficiary applies for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
  • Adjustment of Status: The beneficiary applies to adjust their status to a permanent resident while already in the United States.

What Happens if Preferences Are Not Clear?

If your Form I-130 does not clearly state your preference, USCIS will decide for you. They will either:

  • Send the Petition to the National Visa Center (NVC): If the beneficiary is outside the United States, the petition will be sent to the NVC for consular processing.
  • Retain the Petition for Adjustment of Status: If the beneficiary is already in the United States, the petition will be kept for adjustment of status.

How to Avoid Delays

To avoid delays in your family visa application:

  1. Provide Accurate Information: Ensure your current address and preference for processing are clearly stated on Form I-130.
  2. Update USCIS Promptly: If there are any changes or errors in your application, contact USCIS to update your information.

Green Card Backlog Reduction

In addition to the new guidelines for family visa petitions, the NVC reported a 4% decrease in the green card backlog in May 2024. This reduction is a positive development for green card applicants, indicating progress in processing applications more efficiently and reducing waiting times.

Key Statistics

  • Backlog Decrease: The green card backlog reduced from 351,624 in April to 337,307 in May.
  • Documentarily Complete Cases: The number of cases ready for interview scheduling decreased by 4%, from 404,459 in April to 387,068 in May, (Visa Statistics).

Importance of Complete Documentation

A case is considered “documentarily complete” when the NVC has received and accepted all required forms and documents. Ensuring your case is complete can expedite the processing and scheduling of your interview. A complete and accurate submission helps avoid additional delays and allows the NVC to move forward with your application more quickly.

Tips for Green Card Applicants

To benefit from the reduction in the green card backlog:

  1. Submit Complete Applications: Ensure all required documents and forms are submitted correctly.
  2. Stay Organized: Keep copies of all submissions and communications with the NVC.
  3. Follow Up Regularly: Check the status of your application and follow up with the NVC if necessary.
  4. Seek Professional Help: Consider consulting an immigration lawyer or expert if you need assistance with your application.


The updates from USCIS and the NVC in May 2024 are promising for family visa and green card applicants. By following the new guidelines, providing accurate information, and ensuring complete documentation, applicants can navigate the immigration process more smoothly.

These changes are steps toward a more efficient system, offering hope for those seeking to make the United States their permanent home.

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