The Wait: Why are immigration processes taking so long?

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Why are immigration processes taking so long?

Have you seen cases similar to yours resolved before your case?

Many things have changed during recent years affecting processing times for most immigration cases and limiting the options immigrants have to obtain legal status in the U.S.

Different factors affect the time it takes for a case to be resolved, among them:

  • The backlog, a monstrous amount of pending immigration cases, affects all immigration processes. COVID-19, limited USCIS resources, and changes to immigration policies during recent governments have increased the backlog. Each day, the amount of waiting cases continues to rise.
  • The specific conditions of your case. Two cases may look similar but be completely different when considering the details. This may affect processing times, case strategy, and possible outcomes.
  • The workload and resources at the USCIS Service Center or Field Office which handles your case. USCIS instructions consider your place of residence and type of case to determine which office will handle your case. Special offices handle specific cases, such as VAWA or U Visa.

What can I do to get a faster result?

  1. Do it once, and do it right: make sure the first time you submit an application or request is the only one. Any mistakes, such as incorrect information or missing documents, could result in having to restart the process. In the worst-case scenario, an error may cost you the opportunity to fix your migratory status.
  2. Find the best strategy for your case: A thorough review of your case details will allow your immigration lawyer to suggest options available, in case there is more than one, and recommend what better fits your needs. Some cases may permit two approaches at once if enough resources are available.
  3. Watch out for changes: A change in politics, or your family situation, may be an opportunity to expedite your case or to try a new option that may get you a better result or a faster outcome. Inform your lawyer of any changes in your situation and ask if you hear any news that may affect your case.

Waiting is hard

We know the wait is the hardest part of the process! Here are some tips to make it easier:

  • Keep it real: When given a time frame, we recommend adjusting your expectations. Anticipate a lengthy waiting period rather than a shorter one. This will help you maintain peace of mind since shorter processing times are rare.
  • Get familiar with the follow-up tools available: You can obtain an estimated time frame for your case at: You will need:
    • Your form: There is a code for each type of application
    • Your form category: The same form is used for different types of cases
    • The USCIS Service Center or Field Office handling your case: depending on the USCIS instructions, your case will be sent to a specific office.
  • Request a revision if your case is outside the time frame: If you check your status and it seems to be taking longer than expected, include your receipt on the USCIS website to get an inquiry date, from which you can ask for additional information. USCIS will not answer questions unless your case is well outside the processing time listed. If you have questions, you can send a Service Request online. You can also ask your immigration attorney to do it for you.
  • Patience! The hardest part of any case is the wait. If you have a good lawyer, your lawyer will monitor your case status once you send your application and required documents. Your lawyer will watch out for changes in immigration policies while your case is pending and contact you when you need to take action. Hang in there! Your case is (slowly) moving, and you’ll get your decision soon.

Remember, every immigration story is different.

An immigration lawyer can help you understand your options based on the details of your case and current immigration law.

At Armstrong Legal, we would love to hear about your personal immigration story, guide you through the process and accompany you on the way.

Call us at (469) 844-0020 and schedule a consultation! Our office is in Dallas, Texas, but we also offer telephone and virtual consults. We would be honored to serve you!