Over the past few months (86 days, to be more precise), I've been monitoring the processing times for I-129F petitions (quick review: that's the first part of the K1 visa process) on several petitioner-run websites that compile data submitted by petitioners. The official site published by USCIS is rubbish. It's always 6 months behind the current month, a CYA manner of cutting down on angry phone calls from weepy petitioners, as it tracks the absolute last-in-lines of any month. In reality, processing times are around 2.9 months. (.pdf download full of good data bits on the process)
And just a reminder - that 2.9 means about 3 - 3.5 for CSC, TSC, and NSC filers, and about .5 - 1 for VSC filers. Lest we forget.
As we move through calendar pages, it's been a fairly dependable wave of action - swelling at the start of the month, and cresting toward the middle to end of the month - with approvals splashing through for petitions filed about, yeah, 2.9 months prior. November filers passed through in January-February, December filers came through in February-March, and so on.
As a January filer, I've been looking forward to April with bated breath and a pounding heart.
April, now 19 days old, has seen shockingly little movement. By March 18, some 73% of December filers (and I recognize the limits of data collected anecdotally by a self-selecting website) had received approval.
As of April 15, only between 33% and 37% of January filers have been approved and moved on to the promised land of the State Department.
For the last 7-10 days, we have seen, at most, 2 approvals.
Now, due to the nature of the way data is gathered, it's possible, and I'd like to believe likely, that approvals are flying out the door, but chaos theory has resulted in those approvals going to the people NOT donating their data for the cause. There are thousands of filers, but just a teensy fraction of them make up the sample from which we work. Then again, it would be just as unlikely for past months' data to come from a statistically significant number of lucky-arsed filers.
Anyone out there with access to actual statistics, broken down to the day, which I'm sure USCIS has, feel free to leak them anytime.
The more troubling conclusion to be drawn from what we've seen (or not seen) in the past week, is that things have slowed down considerably at the California Service Center. The question is, of course, why, other than because I filed in January and Murphy's Law is f-ing with me.
Publisher's note: I have never, ever, before so fervently hoped to have a post become quickly outdated as I am fervently hoping right now. I would like nothing better than to update this post in the next 24 hours with some indication of life from CSC, be it with regards to my petition or of anyone else's. I can't wait for the point at which I can block this waiting out, like a marathoner blocks miles 18 through 23, or a law student blocks the bar.