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A moderator deleted this question on how the USCIS assigns IOE numbers to N-400 applications. Why? That's a typical question for US naturalization applicants, e.g. as they try to figure out how long it'll take the USCIS to process their applications when looking at different IOE numbers. 100% on-topic here.

Here is the question:

I wonder how the USCIS assign IOE numbers to N-400 applications. Based on the application date? USCIS field office? Rolling a die? Something else?

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I'm the moderator who deleted the question in response to several flags. While I suppose it might be an interesting technical question about the inner workings of the USCIS, it doesn't appear to actually be on-topic for the site. If you feel differently, I am certainly open to discuss that here on meta. Re-reading it, I'm inclined to leave it closed for that same reason though at this point.

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  • Thanks. The answer to the question could be used to determine the naturalization processing times. Therefore it's on topic. Jun 16, 2023 at 16:01
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    Estimating naturalization processing times is a black magical art, and generally questions around that topic are usually given the same or similar treatment for that reason. It's arguably even irresponsible for us to try and give the impression anyone can predict the processing time of just about any visa, residency, naturalization application, etc.... They take as long as they take. It's just setting people up for disappointment when reality hits. That's likely why such questions are flagged into oblivion. It can even be dangerous to get someone's hopes up like that.
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 16:08
  • "Estimating naturalization processing times is a black magical art" not if you know other people with similar IOE and if IOE have some consistent order/grouping. That is the point of the question. Jun 16, 2023 at 16:14
  • "...not if you know other people with similar IOE and if IOE" So an applicant comes on to the site and there are indeed other people with a similar IOE. Someone posts an answer to their query that they can 99% expect their application time to be done before < insert date >. A busy case worker finishes his work on one application from that grouping in the afternoon and moves on to the applicant who got advice from Expats. The application looks pretty straightforward, visa/travel is sound, no laws or rules broken, and so on.
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 17:25
  • Ok onto the parentage. Hmmm some curiosity there due to some changes in residency, a citizenship being renounced, a couple of others being obtained. Bit adventurous, but nothing we haven't seen on the rare occassion. Ok, the grandparents... wait a minute... < case worker starts looking more closely, searching up information on various nations >. This person might already be a U.S. citizen! It's been a long day. Let's set the case aside and look into it more deeply over the coming days. Might need to get another set of eyes on this one.
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 17:25
  • And their estimated date, courtesy of Expatriates, just slips away.... Ofcourse they have already bought non-refundable tickets to visit their family in < insert country >, even leaving enough time for their passport application to be processed as well. It soon becomes obvious that they will not have their application resolved any time soon, certainly not in time to rush a passport application through on top of whenever other things finally get sorted out.
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 17:25
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    "The answer to the question could be used .... Therefore it's on topic." In general, questions should be able to stand on their own, independent of any answers they may (or may not) ever get. Now that's not a hard rule by any stretch. In fact I've only recently come across a question on StackOverflow that I feel is a clear and obvious (and very highly voted) exception that should be made. But it's a nice guideline for many questions. This one doesn't feel like one of those exceptions.
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 17:27
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    It's asking for the internal technical workings of some government agency to help give the kind of advice that's generally frowned upon on this site (and pretty much on all other immigration forums I've been highly active on).
    – ouflak Mod
    Jun 16, 2023 at 17:27
  • I think it's best to give the answer to the OP, then they can form estimate they wish. Estimates are typically statistical, that don't make them useless. Jun 16, 2023 at 17:46

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