Processing Time for Appeals Lengthens
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) provided an updated processing time chart on October 11, 2019 that provides information on the timeliness of processing appeals. Due to increase in USCIS denials, it is not surprising that the report notes that “the AAO experienced an unexpected surge of appeal filings in 2019, resulting in a number of processing delays outside of the 180-day completion goal.”
AAO processing time reports do not actually report the length of time AAO is taking to decide on an appeal. Rather, it reports on the percentage of completions within 180 days, which is AAO’s goal for completing appellate reviews. Note also that when an appeal is filed, USCIS has 45-days to evaluate the appeal and determine whether to reverse its own denial. If USCIS does not reverse its own denial, it then forwards the appeal to the AAO. Between the initial review by USCIS and the lengthening AAO appellate review period, it is estimated that appeals for H-1B denials are now taking close to one year.