Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
QUESTION: How do I know how long USCIS will take to process my application?
By Ari Sauer, immigration lawyer with the Memphis, TN office of the Siskind Susser law firm.
THE IMMIGRATION ANSWER MAN: Different applications or petitions have different processing times based upon what form has filed, what preference category a petition is filed under, and which USCIS office is processing the application. While USCIS sometimes lists an estimated processing time on the Receipt Notice, these processing times are often incorrect. Current processing times can be found on the USCIS website My Case Status page. Simply choose form type, and select the Service Center or local office where your case is pending. The Service Center is listed at the bottom of your Receipt Notice. The listed processing time is not always accurate, but it will give you an idea of how long you can expect to wait to hear from USCIS on your petition or application.
If your petition or application has been pending for more than 30 days beyond the processing time listed on the USCIS website, you can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1800-375-5283. If your application or petition is more than a month beyond the current processing times they will take down your information and issue a referral to the Service Center where your case is pending. Make sure to write down the date you called, the officer’s ID number, the referral number, and the date on which you can expect a response from USCIS. If you have an attorney, make sure to let your attorney know if you are going to call the NCSC and to give your attorney this information.
If your petition or application is pending with your local USCIS office, instead of calling the NCSC, you can schedule an Infopass appointment to go into the USCIS office and speak with an Information Officer. You can schedule an Infopass appointment on the USCIS website at http://infopass.uscis.gov/. You will not be allowed to speak with a USCIS Information Officer without an Infopass appointment. Please make sure to take note of the date you went to the Infopass appointment, the name of the Information Officer you spoke with, and what that officer told you.
But this information is just referring to the processing time it takes for USCIS to adjudicate your petition or application. If you are applying for a green card or immigrant visa you may still need to wait for a visa to become available under the DOS Visa Bulletin, which can sometimes take years, depending on your visa category.
If you have followed these steps and have not received a satisfactory response from USCIS, you should consider hiring an immigration attorney who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. Your attorney will have additional resources available to them to allow them to make additional inquiries into your case.