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Why Is My Service Center Slow? Can I Change USCIS Service Center? Here's What You Should Know

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Why is my service center so damn slow? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in San Diego, California, and St. Louis, Missouri.

Today, we’re going to talk about USCIS processing times. And I know that everybody waiting for an immigration benefit, whether it’s for someone here in the United States or someone overseas, spends a lot of time thinking about processing times and gets caught up in processing times. And I get it. You’re separated from your spouse. You’re separated from your family members. Or you want to get some immigration benefits yourself, and you’re getting frustrated. When you look at these processing times, you see that some service centers are processing cases much more quickly than other service centers.

Read on for more information about the following:

  • Why do service centers have different processing times
  • Can you transfer your case to another service center
  • What are the things you can change to speed up your case


The Difference Between Processing Times at Service Centers

We see a significant disparity, a great difference between the processing times at Service Center A and Service Center B, and sometimes the USCIS California Service Center is the fastest. Sometimes the Potomac Service Center is, or sometimes the National Benefits Center seems fast or slow. People get bent out of shape during these processing times.

I think it does you no good because, despite the hundreds of thousands of cases that USCIS offices handle, they handle each case differently. Some cases go very quickly, and some cases go very slowly. For instance, we filed a couple of I-130s last year about eight months ago. One of the cases is already finished, and the other case doesn’t even have its interview yet. 

Can I, Jim Hacking, someone who has handled hundreds of these cases, tell the difference between the two cases or figure out why one case goes faster than the other? No. I have theories about things the USCIS California Service Center Delays, especially racial profiling, religious profiling, etc.

But at the end of the day, every single case is different. And you’re going to be much happier and calmer and much more serene, which means peaceful if you just go with the flow. 

Make sure that your case gets reseated. Make sure that you get fingerprinted. Follow along gently, but don’t live and die on the processing times stated by USCIS with each passing day. And the main reason you don’t want to get too caught up in it is it’s all BS. It’s all made up. 

Who cares what those numbers mean? They don’t mean anything. It doesn’t say anything about your case. And the USCIS service centers can be completely dishonest when it comes to what cases they’re processing. You can’t put any weight, and I mean this, any weight on processing times or trying to game the system or figure out which USCIS service center is faster.


Can I Change USCIS Service Center?

No. Transferring your case to another processing center is not possible. 

You can’t ask for your case to be transferred from one service center to another. That’s a decision that only USCIS can make. Now, they say that they’ll do it for workload reasons, and I don’t know if that’s true or not.

In essence, when you try to move your case or transfer a case from California to the Texas Service Center, that slows the processing time down. It might sound like you’re going to someplace faster, but the simple fact of moving your case takes a while for the file to transfer.

Focus on the Things You Can Change 

My long and short advice when it comes to service request processing times and when it comes to service centers is don’t get too caught up in it. Don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Certainly, don’t spend too much time worrying about it.

What you should be focused on are the things that you can change. The things that you can change are:

  • the strength of your case
  • the evidence that you’re developing
  • how prepared you’re going to be for your interview

So much of this other part of the process is out of your control. As long as you file the strongest case possible, you should just sit back and wait, and your case will be processed in due time.

Some take longer, and some take slower. I know that’s easy to say because I was born in the United States. I get that. But at the end of the day, you’re going to get an ulcer riding that wave. And since you’re clicking every other day on the processing times for service centers. You’re going to drive yourself insane, and you’re going to drive the people around you insane. 

Don’t play that game. Don’t spend too much time or energy on that.

Reach Out to Us!

Instead of worrying about the delays, join our Facebook group called Immigrant Home. We talk about these things there all the time. In fact, when I needed a list of questions to shoot this week’s videos, I went straight to Immigrant Home, trying to answer as many people’s questions as possible. Or the other way around, you can always call us at 314-961-8200. Also, email us at [email protected].

We also have a YouTube channel, so feel free to subscribe. In under one hour, you’ll find me live on Facebook and the YouTube channel, answering as many of your citizenship and immigration services questions as possible.

Thanks a lot, and have a great day.


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