On November 2nd, 2022, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that beginning in mid-November, the USCIS will alter how processing timelines are determined for Hague and orphan cases. These modifications align with an agency-wide change in how processing timelines for other cases are determined, and they give stakeholders more accurate information about the overall amount of time it would take to get a decision on their application or petition. Most importantly, USCIS will continue to be dedicated to handling international adoption cases in the most effective and timely manner possible.
The new processing methods for these petitions will change from the previous cycle method to the new 80% completion method. It is possible that certain processing times that were previously estimated using this new approach look much longer. For all orphan and Hague adoption cases, the current posted processing time under the old cycle time technique is 2.5 months. The new 80% completion method, on the other hand, takes into account instances when an application or petition is still pending as a result of circumstances that are typically beyond USCIS’ control and have an impact on the overall time it might take an applicant or petitioner to hear from the agency.
The time it takes for an applicant or petitioner to reply to USCIS letters, and to submit biometrics are among these considerations in cases involving international adoption. Due to agency-wide COVID-19 flexibilities, applicants and petitioners have also had more time since March 2020 to reply to USCIS notifications. The time required for the U.S. Department of State to complete a necessary Form I-604, Determination on Child for Adoption, prior to a USCIS decision is another element that the new procedure takes into account for many orphan applications.