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LPY Law Group

Lessons from the 2023 USCIS Dallas Lockbox Meeting and Key Updates

In our continuous effort to keep our clients informed and prepared, on October 25, 2023, Attorney Tina Brooks at our firm attended a meeting and tour with USCIS officials at the Dallas Lockbox. This opportunity allowed our law firm to further understand the intricacies of the USCIS intake process and provided us with the opportunity to discuss a range of issues related to employment-based I-140 petitions and I-485 applications directly with representatives from USCIS Service Center Operations.

What is a USCIS Lockbox?

The USCIS has several lockboxes throughout the country, which are operated by a contractor – JP Morgan – with some USCIS employees onsite. These facilities serve as the initial intake center for immigration cases to scan filings, process fees, and issue receipt notices. The lockboxes may reject filings due to deficiencies, such as missing pages or signatures, incorrect fees, incompletely filled out forms, etc., but they do not adjudicate cases. Once a lockbox determines that a filing was properly submitted with correct fees, it will issue a receipt notice, and then the case will be assigned to a USCIS service center for adjudication.


Insights from the Dallas Lockbox Facility

Our tour of the Dallas Lockbox shed light on the meticulous process that each filing undergoes. Here are key takeaways to ensure your application navigates through the system efficiently:

Security and Confidentiality: The facility’s strict policies for workers underscore the paramount importance of security and the protection of personal information.

Operational Dynamics: With around 15 USCIS employees and 500 JPMorgan contract personnel, the facility processes more than 500,000 applications weekly, demonstrating the scale at which the immigration system operates.

The facility operates 24 hours, five days per week. Though deliveries are brought in, and P.O. boxes are checked regularly, mail that is sent late in the afternoon may not be retrieved by a lockbox worker until the next business day. Please keep weekends, holidays, and slight variations in lockbox facility procedures in mind when tracking the delivery of your case.

Standardized Procedures: How the Lockbox determine whether to reject or accept your case:

According to the USCIS representative that led our tour, the lockbox facility generally aims to avoid rejections and will try to accept cases, or address deficiencies onsite if possible. Lockbox facility workers receive multiple in-class trainings; however, most of their training is done on the job. If the lockbox worker encounters a deficiency with the case that falls outside their limited scope, it may need to be escalated to a USCIS representative, which may cause delay in receipting.

The lockbox facility stamps the filing with the date when it is received. Cases sent to the lockbox facility go through several checkpoints before they are finally accepted and distributed to a service center for adjudication. The lockbox staff aims to complete these steps within 72 hours of receiving your case:

  • Extraction: Cases are sorted by type and payment is documented; unauthorized payments cause delays.
  • Doc Prep: Documentation is prepared and formatted for scanning, including the insertion of generic header pages.
  • Quality Queue: A portion of cases is re-checked for accuracy, and high-volume cases may be manually reviewed.
  • Scanning: Documents are digitized and stored, with special procedures for double-sided items.
  • Exception Manager: AI and manual input are used to recognize and fill forms digitally, with a high accuracy for recognizing form details.
  • Sorting & Balancing: Applications are categorized into accepted, pending, or rejected based on USCIS business rules.
  • Acceptance: Reviewed applications are processed, assigned an application number, and payments are finalized.
  • Final Assembly, Boxing, Mailing: Documents are either digitized and stored or shredded, with certain exceptions mailed to USCIS service centers.

Due to the large volume of cases being processed, it can be difficult to determine the checkpoint of a specific case during this multi-step process.


Practical Advice for Clients

Incorporating the insights from our experiences and updates, we recommend the following best practices for our clients to ensure smooth processing of your case and avoid delays:

  • Ensure checks are not over a year old and avoid unauthorized payment forms like cash or gift cards.
  • Keep documentation organized and to the point. Avoid excessive documentation. Focus on quality and relevance to expedite review times.
  • Include evidence that can be scanned to demonstrate the significant impact of your work such as citations, patent usage, or commercialization evidence. Evidence that cannot be scanned, such as physical objects, video or audio recordings, etc. may be difficult to process and cause delays in your case.
  • If providing a handwritten response on a form, ensure responses are legible and clear, as Optical Character Recognition technology is utilized for form processing. Moreover, avoid highlighting, colored font, or light-colored text and graphics, as these may cause issues when your documents are scanned.
  • If your case has been rejected, contact an attorney to review your case and determine the next steps.

How We Can Help

At LPY Law Group, we are experienced with navigating these processes, ensuring that each application is prepared and presented in the most favorable light. Our team remains committed to providing up-to-date, strategic advice tailored to the unique circumstances of each case.

Should you have any questions or need further assistance with your immigration process, please do not hesitate to contact us at LPY Law Group


This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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