USCIS Transfers Case Types to Balance Workload
It is fairly common for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to transfer a designated type of case internally in order to achieve a better workload balance. However, while the USCIS may view such case transfers as routine, this sometimes causes concern among foreign nationals who mistakenly assume a case transfer indicates some type of problem with their cases.
Background: Common Practice to Transfer Workloads
It is entirely normal for the USCIS to transfer certain groups of cases from one service center to another. This may be due to a spike in a particular filing type or another event that creates a need to reallocate work to improve efficiency. When the USCIS transfers a case, the agency alerts the applicant or petitioner, in addition to the attorney-of-record, by issuing a transfer notice. This notice shows the date of the transfer and the location to which the file is being transferred. The case retains the original receipt number, but generally requires that future communications, if needed, be addressed to the newly-indicated service center.
Recent Transfers in Various Family-Based Cases
The most recent series of case transfers has primarily involved family-based filings being transferred from the Vermont Service Center (VSC). Specifically, the VSC transferred newly-filed fiancé/e petitions (form I-129F) to the Texas Service Center (TSC) at the end of July 2013. The VSC is also transferring relative petitions in the family-based, second preference "A" (FB2A) category (form I-130) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) requests (form I-821D) to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC). Finally, removal of conditions petitions (form I-751) are being moved from the VSC to the California Service Center (CSC).
No Change in Filing Location
The internal shifting of the cases from one service center to another does not change the required filing location, as the transfers are an internal process within the USCIS. It is important to continue to follow the filing instructions on the USCIS WebSite and the relevant forms for all filings to avoid return of the petition or application for improper filing.
RFEs and Communications
Responses to requests for evidence (RFEs) should be addressed to the location mentioned on the RFE. Other communications need to go through proper channels for the service center to which the case has been transferred, as identified in the transfer notice.
Transfer to Local USCIS District Office may be due to Case-Specific Issue
The workload-related transfers discussed above involve case transfers between USCIS service centers. This is different than the transfer of a particular case to a local USCIS field office. The transfer of a case to a local USCIS office often means the government has additional questions about the case and will be requesting an in-person interview with the applicant. Of course, this does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem with the case. However, such a notice may be reason for an applicant to contact the attorney handling the case to discuss the matter further to assess the issues and prepare for the interview.
The transfer of cases is routine, and the notices issued by the USCIS indicating such transfers are intended to provide transparency in the process; they are not intended to cause anxiety.
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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.