USCIS recently has issued performance data for the L-1B, T, U, and EB-5 visas, as well as naturalization cases. In FY2015, USCIS received well over 13,000 petitions for L-1B visas, which apply only to employees with “specialized knowledge” in an international company. During the same year, USCIS approved more than 10,000 petitions and denied 3,446. The first two quarters of FY2016 show a similar denial rate of just under one-third.
T visa petitions have steadily increased since 2008, with 2,224 being filed in FY2015. The same period showed 1,304 approvals, 486 denials, and 1,666 pending cases. During the first two quarters of FY2016, the approval-denial rate remains the same but the number of pending cases has hardly moved. This could indicate backlogs and extended process times in the future. U visa applications, on the other hand, had more denials than approvals during the second quarter of FY2016, reaching 931. This was a complete reversal from the first quarter, which saw 16,040 U visa applications approved and only 297 denied.
USCIS has seen a surge of EB-5 investors over the past 2½ years, with more applications for EB-5 immigrant status submitted than in the preceding six years combined. This has led to over 20,000 pending cases at the close of FY2016 second quarter. Denial rates remain modest, but are likely to increase due to the sheer number of EB-5 applications filed recently. Approved EB-5 investors applying to remove the conditions on their permanent residence are almost uniformly approved. Over the past eight years, less than 10 percent of all adjudicated cases have been denied. The first two quarters of FY2016 indicate the same trend, with the total denial number for the year projected between 50 and 60. However, over the past eight years USCIS has only been able to adjudicate about half of all the applications received — over 4,000 cases remain pending.
The total number of naturalization cases filed in the first two quarters of FY2016 exceeds 250,000. The approval rate for the same period is 90 percent. Almost 450,000 naturalization applications remain pending.