The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the agency responsible for processing applications related to various immigration benefits. While USCIS works hard to review petitions in a timely manner, processing times can sometimes exceed estimates. When your case is taking longer than expected, it’s understandable to feel anxious or frustrated.
However, there are constructive steps you can take to try moving your application along without compromising your status or relationship with the agency. At New Frontier Immigration Law, we can help you understand what steps you should take when waiting on USCIS. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Phoenix immigration lawyers.
Check the Processing Times Online
The first thing you should do when waiting on USCIS is check the processing times on their website. You will find processing times for various applications on their website, which they update each month. Compare the dates listed under “Now Processing” with when you submitted your application.
If you have been waiting for a USCIS decision about your application for significantly longer than the posted estimates, further inquiry may be prudent.
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The next step would be to contact USCIS by phone or through their website. When dealing with USCIS, you should be polite but firm. Inform them of the date you submitted your application and ask if your application was missing any documents or if any other issues with your application have led to the delay.
When contacting USCIS, be ready to provide them with:
- Your full name
- Application receipt number
- Additional identifying details
File an “Outside Normal Processing Time” Request
If the USCIS agent is unable to provide you with a clear reason why your application is delayed or an estimated completion date, you can ask about submitting an “Outside Normal Processing Time” request.
By submitting this request, you are notifying USCIS that you believe your case should be reexamined or that additional action should be taken relating to exceeding posted timelines. After submitting your request, you will receive a reference number that you can use if making future inquiries about your case.
Submitting this request does not guarantee that your immigration application will be processed faster. However, taking this action does flag your application for potentially receiving expedited handling.
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Consult an Immigration Lawyer
If, after multiple attempts to collect information about your case, you still have not seen any movement, your best bet may be to hire an immigration lawyer.
An attorney can examine the petition thoroughly for any potential issues or barriers to approval, submit requests to USCIS on your behalf, and escalate matters through any necessary legal channels if there appear to be legitimate procedural delays or denials of due process.
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Respond to Requests From USCIS Promptly
While waiting for USCIS action, be sure to respond quickly to any requests for evidence (RFEs) or notices of deficiencies. By submitting complete responses soon after receiving a request, you can minimize the delays that arise.
You can also head off any potential delays before they occur by providing USCIS with any information about changes in your life, including changes to your:
- Phone number
- Employment situation
- Familial situation
Remain Calm and Polite
When attempting to collect information from USCIS, it is critical that you are respectful and avoid acting in a threatening or demanding manner, as this could negatively impact how your case is handled. Remember that agents and officers are processing heavy caseloads and aim to complete petitions objectively based on eligibility criteria.
Kind yet persistent inquiries demonstrate your legitimate interest while preserving a good working rapport. Overall staying organized, meeting eligibility requirements, promptly responding to requests and following proper status check processes in a patient, solution-oriented manner often produces the best outcomes.
It’s important to remember that while faster processing is ideal, some petition types and cases may require more attention, clarification, or review time, without fault of either party. Unless processing exceeds published estimates by an extreme margin without reasonable explanation, USCIS should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Get Help From an Experienced Immigration Lawyer Today
Working with an experienced immigration attorney is the best way to ensure that your application is processed as quickly as possible. An immigration lawyer can help you prepare your initial application before you file to ensure that everything is submitted correctly and avoid unwanted complications that can arise from an incomplete or incorrect application.
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we can help throughout the application process. No matter which immigration process you are dealing with, we have the experience necessary to help you reach a positive outcome for your application. With diligent efforts and effective communication, most circumstances where USCIS takes too long can still reach successful conclusions.
The last thing you want to have to worry about when dealing with an immigration application is having your right to stay in the country run out while waiting on USCIS to process your application. Contact us today by giving us a call or using our online contact form and schedule your free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.