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USCIS, FBI Eliminate National Name Check Backlog

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today announced that, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it has met all milestones set forth in a joint business plan announced April 2, 2008, resulting in the elimination of the FBI National Name Check Program (NNCP) backlog.

“Our close partnership with the FBI has resulted in the accomplishment of this significant achievement with national security as its foundation,” said USCIS Acting Deputy Director Michael Aytes.  “This continued working relationship will help to ensure that name check processing is accomplished as quickly as possible without compromising security concerns.”

The final goal of the business plan was to achieve a sustainable performance level by the NNCP of completing 98 percent of name check requests submitted by USCIS within 30 days, and the remaining two percent within 90 days.  This performance level will become the new standard. 

These vastly improved performance levels were achieved through a variety of collaborative steps taken by USCIS and the FBI, including:

  • an increase in NNCP staffing made possible by the transfer of appropriated funds from USCIS funding and additional fee revenue for name check processing;
  • name check  process improvements initiated by the FBI;
  • refinements in the name check file search criteria which enabled the FBI to focus on files most likely to yield pertinent search results;
  • training of NNCP staff on USCIS adjudication requirements and the applicability of name check search results to USCIS adjudications; and
  • other cooperative measures including assignment of USCIS personnel to the NNCP.

As is the case with all security checks undertaken by USCIS, any information provided by the FBI through these checks may require further evaluation and may need additional interaction with agencies outside USCIS to obtain updated or additional information.  This could result in additional delays in processing and is not governed by the processing goals contained in the joint business plan.
 
In the majority of instances, however, the completion of a backlogged FBI name check has resulted in a “no record response.”  As a result, USCIS has been able to resume normal processing of most cases which most often ends in a final determination of eligibility.  Next steps in the adjudication of cases that were previously delayed as a result a pending FBI name check request may now include updating fingerprint results, scheduling interviews, requesting additional evidence and other reviews to determine whether the applicant is eligible for the requested immigration benefit. 

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/22/2009