Once an immigration application or petition is submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it enters a review phase where an officer will thoroughly assess the request to determine whether it merits approval. This process can take time, depending on the specific application type and individual circumstances involved.
While waiting for a decision can be stressful, understanding the process that your application is going through during review can help ease the tension. At New Frontier Immigration Law, we can help guide you through the application process and deal with any issues that may arise. Schedule a free case review with one of our experienced immigration lawyers today.
First Steps in Processing Your Application
After you submit your application, the first thing USCIS will do will be to send a notice confirming the date materials were accepted as a complete filing. This creates an official case number for tracking status going forward. You can use their number to check the status of your application at any time on the USCIS website.
After your application is received, the case is routed to the appropriate service center or field office, depending on the jurisdiction. Cases are organized based on the date that applications are received to maintain straightforward ordering as queues fill and clear.
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Initial Review by a USCIS Officer
The next step will be for a USCIS officer to preview the documents and supporting evidence to establish familiarity with the request. They’ll examine basic information like identity, eligibility criteria fulfillment, any criminal records, and details from directly involved individuals or organizations.
If any information is unclear or missing, a request for additional information may be sent to you. If you receive one of these requests, it is essential that you respond quickly to minimize the delays in the processing of your application.
As part of the application process, background checks through various governmental databases are automatically initiated as well. This includes things like immigration, criminal, and national security records searches. While most applicants clear without trouble, results requiring further officer follow-up can add processing time.
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Interview With a USCIS Officer
Depending on the type of application you submitted, and the details of your case, the next step may be an interview with a USCIS officer. These interviews provide the opportunity for officers to verify information and identities, ask pertinent follow-up questions face-to-face, and make judgments based on interactions.
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A Deep Dive Into Your Application
For a more complicated application or if any issues arise, an officer may take a deeper dive into your application and personal history. USCIS relies heavily on all applicable laws, policies, regulations, and precedent decisions for guidance in navigating often nuanced details.
They’ll assess statutory language, any prior filings or histories, supporting evidence consistency, and overall credibility under established standards. In some cases, less experienced officers will also need to consult senior colleagues for help with complex issues.
A Decision on Your Application
Once a USCIS officer has finished reviewing your application, they will make their decision on your case. You will receive a notice that your application was approved, denied, or pending with a request for additional evidence or an interview.
If your application is approved, the requested card or document will be created and mailed to you, and your application will be closed.
If your application is denied, you may have the option of appealing the decision. An experienced immigration attorney can review the details of your case to determine your options for appeal. If you are eligible for an appeal, your lawyer will walk you through every step of the process.
Request for Additional Evidence or Interview
If you receive a request for additional evidence or an interview at this point, your case will return to the evidence-gathering stages of the application process. After collecting the additional information needed to process your application, a USCIS officer will once again issue a decision regarding your application.
When an Application Exceeds Normal Processing Times
In the majority of cases, even if it seems like things are moving slowly in your case, the reality is that things are moving forward. Remaining patient and maintaining communication are the best ways of dealing with a prolonged wait.
However, if your case exceeds normal processing times, there are steps you can take to potentially move things along. Filing an “Outside Normal Processing Time” request will result in your application being flagged and potentially expedited.
An immigration lawyer can also review your case and petition USCIS on your behalf, which can lead to a quicker resolution of your application.
Reach Out to an Immigration Lawyer for Help With Your Case Today
With a basic understanding of typical application assessment methodology and flow, individuals awaiting USCIS action can experience less uncertainty during the review period. An experienced immigration lawyer can ensure that you fully understand the application process and the steps that are being taken in your case.
If issues arise, your attorney can help resolve the matter as quickly as possible so that your application can be approved and you can focus on other important things in your life. Contact us today through our website or over the phone to schedule a free initial case evaluation with a member of our team.