I-526 Processing Analysis

This article provides insights into I-526 processing data by USICS for cases received between July-September of 2018 which is the current timeframe for cases being actively being processed by USCIS.

The analysis will answer the following questions:

  • Number of cases received by USICS by month in 3Q’18.
  • % of I-526 applications processed by USICS as of Dec 1st, 2020 with Priority Date in 3Q’18.
  • Outcome of applications processed (approvals, denials, request for evidence, etc.).
  • Processing speed – how many applications are being processed weekly and daily with Priority Date between July-Sep 2018.

Notes/Disclosures:

  • Data is not 100% complete but vast majority of cases are accounted for.
  • Data was last updated on December 1st, 2020.
  • Margin of error is less than 5% for most metrics and time periods but may be higher.
  • Information provided here is meant to be informative and help further discussion. Please do not rely on this information for any formal actions including but not limited to writ of mandamus filings or actions against USCIS, nor does anything published here represent legal advice.
  • Please seek my permission prior to reposting any information presented here.
  • PD = Priority Date

  • USCIS received 267 cases in July ’18, 369 in August ’18 and 910 in Sep ’18 (Data missing some cases but the vast majority are covered).
  • 65% of July ’18 Priority Date cases have been processed. As of Nov ’20, pending July ’18 cases are not being adjudicated in any significant volumes.
  • August ’18 Priority Date stands at 55% processed. Continue to see cases adjudicated but at a slower pace. A large concentration of Aug ’18 pending cases are from the last week of August ’18.
  • September saw a surge of I-526 applications. USICS is currently processing weeks 1-3 of Sep ’18 Priority Date. Several days in September saw over 100 applications received. USICS especially seems to be skipping over applications received on September 11 (Poor choice of day to submit application).

  • I-526 immediate approval rate among applications processed with 3Q ’18 Priority Date ranges between 55-60%.
  • ~30% of processed applications received a Request of Evidence (RFE).
  • On an average, I am seeing many RFE’s being approved around 30-45 days after evidence is submitted. That said, a few applications with evidence submitted seem to be pending for over a year. I currently do not have an explanation for these instances.
  • Denial rate here is around 4-6%. This number is however artificially lower as it does not account for denials in the future among RFE’s where denial rate will be higher as well as pending applications.
  • Other refers to – Notice explaining USCIS actions (I believe NOID – notice of intent to deny), withdrawals, notices returned as undeliverable by post office.


  • On an average, USCIS is processing approximately 10-11 cases per business day with PD between July-Sep 2018.
  • In addition to the above cases, USCIS is also processing cases not within this PD time range (Expedite requests, RFE responses etc.). According to USCIS, they are processing ~300 cases a month.
  • July ’18 PD cases are not being processed in significant volumes anymore. The rest of the cases will be a combination of Chinese applicants and those who seem to have fallen through the cracks. If you are in the latter, you might want to consult with your lawyer about next steps.
  • August ’18 PD cases are still being processed, but in lower volumes than Sep ’18 cases.
  • Sep ’18 PD processing is now moving to week 2 and week 3 priority dates. Week 1 September priority date cases are still occasionally processed.
Future additions to the blog will aim to cover information on FIFO (first in first out) processing claims from USICS,  more details on processing speeds as well as updates to existing charts and supporting comments.

Please feel free to leave comments and questions in the comments section below. I hope this analysis is informative and insightful for current investors as well as those considering taking the EB5 route for immigration to the US.







Comments

MRK said…
Great Blog!! The analysis is useful for predicting the processing time.
Since the Sep'18 has larger volume, can you publish a chart with volume per day. FYI....MY PD date is 18-SEP-18. It will be helpful to see how close or far away my application is to be adjudicated.

Also, below are the China petitions that are there in Suzanne blog. If you can exclude them from you charts, that would reflect the right stats
Month China
Jul'18 77
Aug'18 107
Sep'18 165

Again, thanks for the blog as it provides valuable information

Anonymous said…
Hi! My country consider as a rest of the world, I have submitted I-526 by October 2019. I’m direct investor currently living in usa.
Do you have any data for me?

Thank you
FCL said…
Thank you very much for that hard work ! Very useful for me (PD sept 20 2018, so fingers crossed !!)
Unknown said…
Hi Suzanne, it seems quite a number of I-526 petitions filed during late Sept 2018 were being pushed to FY 2019, with case numbers started with WAC1990XXXXXX. Your analysis did not cover such cases, right? Thx
Anonymous said…
Excellent. Thank you for your hard work.
Web said…
Hi All,

Thanks for your comments and questions.

@MRK: I will add a version excluding China from the current pool to better reflect the immediate pending cases in a future iteration of the blog.

I will also provide a trended chart in the coming days of applications in September'18 by day.

@Anonymous: I do not currently have data for Oct'19 PD. However, given the slow processing volume and the large number of applications ahead of you, I would not expect a USCIS response before the end of next year and that is assuming they significantly speed up processing from now.

@FCL: Glad you found this useful!

@Unknown: A large number of applications starting Sep 26th came in with WAC1990XXXXXX which is different from the current. These cases which were received in Sep'18 were included in this analysis.
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your analysis. Would you have any data on I-485 (status adjustment) processing that you can share?
Anonymous said…
Thank you for your analysis, when do you expect PD of Sep 30, 2018 will be processed?
Suzanne Lazicki said…
To clarify
--In your first chart, "Processed" just means "got an action of some kind by December 1" (either approval, denial, RFE, or other), not "got a decision," right?
--In your second chart, does the "outcome" specifically represent the status as of December 1? (Such that if a case previously recorded an RFE but approved as of now, it's part of the approved % and not the RFE %?)
--"~30% of processed applications received a Request of Evidence (RFE)": in this sentence, what does "processed" mean? Do you mean that of the petitions in your sample now recorded as approved or denied about 30% had had an RFE? Or...?
--In your last chart, the numbers refer to number of cases seeing some sort of action, not specifically number of decisions, right?
Thanks for sharing your work.
Anonymous said…
Web,
Thank you very much!, do have any I-526 data by country?

Thank you
Web said…
@Suzanne
Answers below:
1. Yes processed refers to USCIS having made some form of action on the application which would have atleast required them to look at it. It is mostly made up of approved, denied/rejected, RFE sent, Response to RFE received, withdrawals, Notice sent by USCIS which I think is a NOID or undeliverable USCIS notices (negligible).
2.Good question. I have not updated cases from the first available notice on them. Which means its possible that some RFE's could now be approved. However based on a quick check of a sample, these are very few cases, mostly impacting July a little as there has been too little time for USCIS to have processed RFE responses. Infact most RFE's from even July have still not reflected even any responses received by USCIS.
3. Processed here has the same meaning as in 1. 30% refers to the applications which first received an RFE before anything changed. They could be either still with the RFE sent status (vast majority), approved, denied, or response to request for evidence received. My data does not reflect any changes to the initial status so a very small % of the 30% could now be approved or denied and is not reflected here.
4. Correct. Any status other than case was received, name was updated or birth date was updated would be counted as a case processed but not necessarily approved or denied.
Anonymous said…
Hi Web,

I am an investor from India with a PD of week2-Sept 2018. Considering that the processing of Wk 3 of Sept 2018 has begun, does it mean that my file has been left behind? Or is there still hope?
Anonymous said…
Hi Web
By when do you think an application PD20 Nov 18 would be adjudicated?
Anonymous said…
Hi Web,

Thanks for your excellent analysis! I am an investor (born in India) and have a May 2019 PD. However since Sep the case enquiry tool says "Name was updated". What does it mean - have they actually taken up my case for processing?

Regards,
RS
Unknown said…
Thank you for the hard work and excellent post ! People like you and Suzanne are a real help in figuring out what is happening at IPO, we would totally be in the dark otherwise. Thanks again. Shruti
Anonymous said…
Hey Web, really appreciate your hard work and technical approach to get details. Do u have any recent update on what date i526 Is getting approved? Thanks in advance for replying
Shakti said…
Excellent work!
Anonymous said…
Great work. Thanks for providing an insight into the processing times. If USCIS has processed petitions upto Q3'18 as in Q4'2020. One can assume they are almost 2 years behind? Also no. of petitions were significantly more in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Q4'19 & Q1'19 I-526 processing should take next 6-9 months.
Singh is King said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
JS said…
Hi Web,

Both you and Suzzane have been providing excellent sources of information, which makes the long and uncertain wait time a little less frustrating.

I am an India Born application and my PD is 27th Sept. 2018. I applied through the exemplar approved the large project with ~400 applicants. Everyone, in this project so far has got i526 approved. Can you please give some idea on how long the wait times possibly could be especially now when the country Greencard cap may come to end anytime soon and I am part of a large project?

Will highly appreciate your response.

Thank you so much.

JS
FCL said…
Hi web
thanks again for all this work
would be able to give us an update about the situation of 09/2018 I526 by date ? where is IPO in september 2018 ? Thank you SOOO Much
Anonymous said…
Hi Web

Great blog! I had a question about the possibility of children ageing out. Are there any provisions to safeguard the applicant from this not happening? My children were 161/2 and 18 1/2 when I applied for the family ( June 2018) I just submitted a reply to the RFE I received in first week of November 2020. I am an Indian applicant, currently living in the US on H-1. I am confused about the ageing out rule and with the new bill on the table, its even more confusing. Could you throw some light on this?
Shakti said…
Any approvals after December 15? Many thanks
Anonymous said…
my PD is 18Dec2018. any idea when can I expect my I-526 processing.
Anonymous said…
Hi Suzanne,
This blog is so useful - I am an investor from India with a PD of 19-dec-2018 - and was totally in dark as of now
As to what was going on with the processing.

Given my priority date of 19-dec-2018 - when can I expect the approval to come thru this year?

Many thanks!!
James said…
Thanks for all the data. You are one of the few covering eb5 data
Yash said…
Hi Web,

Looks like things are moving slowly but surely.

Would it be possible to have a latest update on where/which month of 2018 is current processing happening?

Anonymous said…
Hi Yash.
I got approved this week with a priority date third week of september 2018. And a few cases around me (same priorrity dates) also got approved or RFEs this week. So They are working on 3rd and last Week of september 2018.
good luck
FCL
Anonymous said…
Hi FCL,
Thanks for your reply - helps a lot!

Cheers and good luck!
Anonymous said…
Hello, what is a priority date? I am from Brazil and I submited on september 27th
Do you think It will be aprooved bu this month? Thank you
Rush said…
Hi,

Update from my end. I am an Investor with country of origin as India. My priority date is Sept 25th 2018. I just received an RFE this morning. Is there a timeline of how much time will I get a decision after I reply to the RFE ?. I don't know yet what the RFE is about. My attorney hasn't received the physical RFE yet.