On occasion, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will transfer cases from one USCIS service center to another. The USCIS may transfer cases “to balance [its] workload and promote timely processing.” In this article, we will examine USCIS workload transfers with reference to the USCIS webpage on the issue (last updated June 9, 2017) [PDF version].
When the USCIS transfers a case from one service center to another, it will send a transfer notice. The applicant or petitioner's receipt number will not change in the event of a transfer. Furthermore, transfers do not delay case processing.
Filing Forms Post-Transfer
Regardless of a transfer, applicants and petitioners must file any USCIS-issued form in accordance with the existing form instructions. USCIS form instructions and the USCIS website include up-to-date information on where to properly file a USCIS form.
Premium Processing Issues
Certain USCIS forms are eligible for premium processing [see article (Form I-129) and (Form I-140)]. If an applicant or petitioner wants to request premium processing for such a form after the petition or application was transferred, he or she must do the following:
- File the Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with the service center where the application or petition is currently pending; and
- Submit a copy of the Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for the pending application or petition.
The USCIS states that it will reject the Form I-907 if the applicant or petitioner does not do both.
The Five USCIS Service Centers
The five USCIS service centers are:
- California Service Center
- Vermont Service Center
- Nebraska Service Center
- Potomac Service Center
- Texas Service Center
USCIS workload transfers are routine and are not supposed to negatively affect processing of a case. In the event an application or petition is transferred, the applicant or petitioner should ensure that inquiries are made with the correct USCIS service center. It is also important to remember that all USCIS forms must be filed in accordance with the form instructions. The USCIS states that the procedures on its webpage apply generally to all workload transfer cases unless it specifically stipulates otherwise. In general, those filing applications or petitions with the USCIS are well advised to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.