We have written several times about the growing U Visa backlog. We had anticipated that activity would pick up at the Vermont Service Center, which processes all U Visas, once the new year started. But January came and went, and still there was no uptick in processing.
Even more hopefully, we waited for the February update hoping there would be movement. Unfortunately, that update came today, and there is no movement.
Currently Processing May, 2014
The current posted processing times, which were updated this morning, say they are currently working on applications filed in May, 2014.
If you have been following this issue for the last few months, you know that the processing times have said “May 7, 2014” for at least the last eight months.
Why is the Backlog Growing?
Although it doesn’t help to blame anyone for this delay, many want to know what has caused the slow-down. An easy target is the increased popularity of the program, but that doesn’t seem to be the culprit.
Looking at last year’s U visa numbers, it is quite clear that the number of new applications received went up. But the rate of U Visa adjudications went down overall last year.
Although USCIS received 12,000 more U Visas last year than the year before, the total number of U Visas was 31,000 more than the year before. That means not only has the program grown in popularity, but the Vermont Service Center has adjudicated less U Visas and thus left more pending this last year.
At the end of 2015 there were 110,303 U visa applications pending.
I’ll post another update if there is any more movement on processing times.