USCIS: Change of Filing Addresses and Workload Transfers

by Joseph McKeown


Every so often, US Citizenship & Immigration Service Centers—located in California, Nebraska, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia—experience lengthy backlogs and delays in processing cases. To balance workloads and “promote timely processing,” USCIS occasionally changes filing addresses for certain petitions to direct cases away from the service centers experiencing these significant delays, as well as transfers cases from center to center. USCIS announced this week they are doing both.  

1. For beneficiaries who will be working or training in Florida, Georgia, or North Carolina, USCIS has changed the direct filing addresses for where to file certain forms. Effective May 20, 2017, anyone requesting L, O, or P nonimmigrant status for a beneficiary who will be working or training in Florida, Georgia, or North Carolina must file the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and/or Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, with the California Service Center (CSC).

Beginning July 20, 2017, USCIS will reject forms sent to the wrong service center. Note, however, those filing a P major league sports-related petition must continue to file Form I-129 with the Vermont Service Center (VSC).   

2. From January 5 through March 28, USCIS began transferring cases between service centers in order to cut down on backlogs and balance workloads. When USCIS transfers a case, they issue a transfer notice. Please note that the receipt number will not change, and USCIS claims that such a transfer will not delay the processing of the case. These recent transfers include:

  • Some Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for F, M, and J nonimmigrants went from the California Service Center (CSC), the Nebraska Service Center (NSC), and the Texas Service Center (TSC) to the Potomac Service Center (PSC);
  • Some Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for F, M, J, or B nonimmigrants went from the VSC to the CSC;
  • Some Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for petitioners requesting H-1B nonimmigrant classification went from the VSC to the CSC;
  • Some Forms I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for immediate relatives went from the NSC to the PSC and the TSC;
  • Some Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for petitioners seeking L, O, and P nonimmigrant classification went from the VSC to the CSC (except for major league sports-related P petitions which will remain with the VSC);
  • Some Forms I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, for L nonimmigrant classification went from the VSC to the CSC;
  • Some Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for applicants seeking the L-2, O-3, and P-4 nonimmigrant classifications that are filed together with Form I-129 went from the VSC to the CSC (except for major league sports-related P petitions which will remain with the VSC); and
  • Some Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, for applicants seeking L-2 status went from the VSC to the CSC.

To make a premium processing request after the transfer, the following must be done:

  • File the Form I-907 with the service center where the petition or application is currently pending, and

  • Submit a copy of the Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for the pending petition or application.

If both are not done, USCIS may reject the Form I-907.

Case status can be checked online with the option of receiving automatic updates by email. If a decision on the case is not reached within the published processing time for the new service center, applicants, petitioners, and attorney practitioners can submit an online inquiry or call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-375-5283. When asked about the case status, callers should provide the receipt number and specify that the case was transferred to a new location.