How long for visa/naturalization records from USCIS? #usa #records


Michele Lock
 

Back in early December, I ordered two records from the US CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). One was for a search for a Visa file for my great grandfather Hyman Lock, who arrived in the US in 1925. The other was a request for the naturalization papers for my grandfather Philip Leapman, for which I already had the certificate number.

The USCIS website still accepts order requests and the $65 payments.  And there is no notice that they are shut down or only responding sporadically.

Prior to Covid restrictions, how long did it take the USCIS to respond to these types of requests? And for those who have submitted requests over the past year, how long has it taken for a response?

--
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lewin/Levin in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus


Laurie Sosna
 

I requested an index search Sept 14
3, 2020, I received a reply Jan 27, 2021.
 
Laurie Sosna
San Francisco, CA


Ilene Wagner
 

I had the index number and ordered the file in September.  I received a letter by email in October confirming receipt and giving a case number which could then be used to checked the status online. In February I received a letter in the mail confirming receipt again and explaining that information would be sent on a CD. When this letter arrived, the online status said the case was closed. A CD with the documents in yesterday’s mail. The CD contained a copy of the certificate (I already had the original) and poor quality copies of the Declaration of Intent and Petition, both of which I had already obtained online for free.  I was under the impression that the USCIS has a more extensive file and was very disappointed. I hope you’re more successful.
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Ilene Wagner
Fultonville, NY
ilenewag@...


Robert Hanna
 

I sent in a search request on 14 Sep 2020 and two records requests on 16 Sep 2020 and still have not received anything.

Robert Hanna
NYC


Marjorie Geiser
 

Michele,

I ordered just after they first announced the rate increase, which was October 2019. An email saying my initial search was completed came in that November. I then ordered the full order in early December. I had missed the part about it taking (at that time) 90 days, but I did get a confirmation saying they received my order. And I was able to go onto the site, which said order complete, just like you got.
I then contacted them again in late February 2020, asking about it. I received a personal reply saying it was in the mail. It was literally a few days later I got my CD.

I know that some records can have amazing things in it that we can't find anywhere else. My biggest goal was to find out where this great aunt was born, because I couldn't find anything on her. Not only did I find that out, but there was a picture on her naturalization papers that I couldn't find ANYWHERE else.This was worth the expense!

Good luck to you. It can't hurt to keep contacting them. Someone will eventually respond, I would imagine. Even if they're closed, someone has to be monitoring their email. I know that the National Archives is totally closed, even for online orders. Not sure if that's the case for USCIS???

Margie Geiser
Arizona, USA

LEVINE/LEWIN, SILBERNAGEL/ZYLBERNAGEL/SILVER, EPSTEJN/EPSTEIN, MOCZYDLOWER/MOCHEDLOVER, ERLICH, GRUNPELTZ, JOSKOWICZ, ZYLBERSZTEJN, SZTABINSKA, WILK


David Harrison
 

To all of you with this problem

If it were not for Covid, would you be able to go the archive, ask for the file and then read it and take your own prints or photos?  I ask this because in Britain when I wanted naturalisation information, I just went to our National Archive, after a short wait, I received the file and read it all.  The file included a report from a Police officer and much other information because in the one case because of WW1 a son and been killed in action and also a rebuilding problem had kept the family away from their home for an unrecorded period.  In the other case the police report was hilarious and in both cases I could read the whole files taking my own copies of whatever.  My wife and I have had similar facilities in Eire and The Netherlands.  In all cases there has been much friendly help from archivists.   As for BMD certificates or census information, I have planned archive visits as part of holidays and in the past found much else from casual comments also in France, Poland and Germany.  More than once an archivist has told me which other archine would have the information that we required and then made an appointment for us so that we were expected and welcomed with a guide to a file that was waiting for us.

Best of luck and keep safe.

David Harrison
Birmingham, England


From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of Marjorie Geiser <margiegeiser@...>
Sent: 13 March 2021 16:17
To: main@... <main@...>
Subject: Re: [JewishGen.org] How long for visa/naturalization records from USCIS? #records #usa
 
Michele,

I ordered just after they first announced the rate increase, which was October 2019. An email saying my initial search was completed came in that November. I then ordered the full order in early December. I had missed the part about it taking (at that time) 90 days, but I did get a confirmation saying they received my order. And I was able to go onto the site, which said order complete, just like you got.
I then contacted them again in late February 2020, asking about it. I received a personal reply saying it was in the mail. It was literally a few days later I got my CD.

I know that some records can have amazing things in it that we can't find anywhere else. My biggest goal was to find out where this great aunt was born, because I couldn't find anything on her. Not only did I find that out, but there was a picture on her naturalization papers that I couldn't find ANYWHERE else.This was worth the expense!

Good luck to you. It can't hurt to keep contacting them. Someone will eventually respond, I would imagine. Even if they're closed, someone has to be monitoring their email. I know that the National Archives is totally closed, even for online orders. Not sure if that's the case for USCIS???

Margie Geiser
Arizona, USA

LEVINE/LEWIN, SILBERNAGEL/ZYLBERNAGEL/SILVER, EPSTEJN/EPSTEIN, MOCZYDLOWER/MOCHEDLOVER, ERLICH, GRUNPELTZ, JOSKOWICZ, ZYLBERSZTEJN, SZTABINSKA, WILK


Rebecca Racer
 

Hi!
I know you're looking for responses that were done prior to Covid, but I'd like to offer my 2 cents...
I submitted an index request in December 2020 and then another request in February 2021 once I found my grandfather's file number on my own (through his Petition for Naturalization). I've sent various emails to the genealogy email (genealogy.uscis@...and have received responses to my questions. I most recently sent a FOIA request and when I checked the status online, I've moved up in the queue and my expected response date is 4/23/21. So, it seems like everything is up in the air. 
I recently sent a status update request to the genealogy email (genealogy.uscis@...and this was the response I received:

"We process our requests on a first in-first out basis.   Index searches take an average of 120 business days to complete and you will receive your results via e-mail. 

 

A records request requires more time and normally takes an average of 140 business days to complete.  If your file not digital, and located at another facility, it may take longer as several of our facilities are still partially closed due to COVID-19.  You will receive the record results in the mail.

 We had an influx of requests between August and December 2020 that caused a 40% increase.  Please understand the times are an estimate only and can change often based on various staffing issues and file locations.

 We are processing requests received on September 25, 2020. 

 We are working diligently to reduce our backlog, but we are short staffed as well.

 Your continued patience is appreciated. 

Maybe send them an email with your request number/ID and ask for a status update. 

Rebecca Racer
NJ


MARLISE GROSS
 

I have been waiting 240 days for a naturalization document that I only wanted because it might have a photograph.  And that is after the initial 45 days I waited for them to confirm they had it.  It is still considered "Active". So frustrating.  Yet, I understand.

Prior to COVID, I received a visa application in 2 months after the initial search time.  I also received a "not found" after an initial search said it was available.  That one took another month for them to confirm it was not found.  Count yourself fortunate if you have access to this file because the information I found in mine was incredible.

Marlise Gross
Cherry Hill, NJ


Dahirsh@...
 

Interesting they say they are working on Sept 25.  I've been waiting on a Visa File since July 2020.  Online tracking still shows "active"

Debra HIRSH


Michele Lock
 

Thanks for the updated information from everyone. In early June it will be six months since I sent in my requests, so I'll wait until then to contact them for an update.

It is interesting that the email response above from USCIS said they are taking 120-140 business days to respond to requests. If I recall correctly, the USCIS website says, at least normally, that it should take 90 days, not 90 business days. They also have no notice on the website about the extended time it is taking for them to search and respond.

I work for a US federal agency, and the law we work under says 90 days for our agency to respond to various inquiries/document submissions. This is 90 calendar days, not 90 business days. This has not changed due to the Covid issue, because the law we work under has not changed. Then again, there is no law that says the USCIS must respond to genealogy requests. 
--
Michele Lock

Lock/Lak/Lok and Kalon/Kolon in Zagare/Joniskis/Gruzdziai, Lithuania
Trisinsky/Trushinsky/Sturisky and Leybman in Dotnuva, Lithuania
Olitsky in Alytus, Suwalki, Poland/Lithuania
Gutman/Goodman in Czestochowa, Poland
Lavine/Lev/Lew in Trenton, New Jersey and Lida/Vilna gub., Belarus