Why is my DACA application transferred to local USCIS office?

Several DACA applicants are reporting that either they have been notified by the USCIS or they have noticed that online that their application, after waiting for 90 days for approval, or even worse six months in some cases, have been transferred to the USCIS field office.  They have been told there is nothing else for them to do and to wait for further instructions from the agency.  Exactly; like in most matters dealing with USCIS, it is best to wait.  Calling them or trying to contact a politician to influence the process is a waste of time.  The process has to take its course and it is better to just wait; you also need not worry that somehow your application will be delayed or denied or something else will go wrong (the right way to think about it is that if you have done nothing wrong and your application deserves to be approved, then, it will be; on the other hand if you do not deserve to be approved, even if it is not transferred to a local office, it will still be denied).  But why would the case be transferred?

It is not just DACA cases that are transferred to field offices; all sorts of application, including Adjustment of Status or AOS (application to receive a green card or permanent residency) and naturalization, are typically sent to local offices.  The reasons are many:

  1. USCIS made a mistake or you made a mistake and the application has now been sent to the right place.
  2. Personnel changes within USCIS prompting transfer of work to wherever it can be done faster.
  3. Redistribution of work between different offices when some offices get more workload while other offices have less work.
  4. The applicant files form AR-11 for change of address and that necessitates moving the case.
  5. Something popped up during the decision making process that requires the case to be handled locally.  Since local offices are much closer to the applicant's residence and/or employment and the agency has better relationship with the local law enforcement and businesses, it is much easier for the field office to handle such matters.  It is not unusual for USCIS to make phone calls to police, employers, landlords, school/university, churches, etc. to conduct their investigation as part of background check.  In rare cases, even a visit by a USCIS officer may be made to a police office or employer.
  6. While DACA cases are being handled without personal interviews, in other immigration petitions, it is generally a sign that the applicant will be directed to appear in person and provide original documentation in support of the case.

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