Speeding Up Your Immigration Case With USCIS

Immigration Cases Are Taking Longer Than Ever

Processing times at immigration agencies have hit record-highs.  One of those agencies, United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), publishes their normal processing times to tell you how long your case is expected to take.  But cases often take much longer.

Fortunately, however, you can do a few things to speed up your case processing at USCIS.   Below are some helpful tips to minimize delays.

child

Make Sure You've Submitted All Fees and Evidence

To speed up processing of your immigration case, you need to make sure that you’ve submitted all the basic forms, evidence, and filing fees for your case.  If you’re missing just one form or document, you’re virtually guaranteed to add another 2 months to your processing time. 

Keep in mind that when USCIS decides it’s missing something, it won’t call you on the phone, tell you what they need, and have you email it to them.  USCIS will instead send you a letter in the mail and give you from 1 to 4 months to respond.  After you mail in what they need, USCIS will often take an additional 2 to 3 months just to process new information and documents. 

Therefore, it’s critical to make sure that your application is complete.

Let’s look at the example of a green card application based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen.  There are fees and lot of forms to include:

  • All Fees
  • Form I-130 (Visa Petition)
  • Form I-485 (Green Card Application)
  • Form I-131 (Travel Permit Application)
  • Form I-765 (Work Permit Application)
  • Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) 
  • Form I-944 (Declaration of Self-Sufficiency)

In addition to the forms themselves, each application requires basic evidence to meet the legal requirements. For example, for most green card applications you have to submit a Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, which helps to show that the person who’s petitioning (petitioner) makes enough money to support the green card applicant.  864, you have to submit a copy of the petitioner’s most recent tax return, proof of income, and maybe even proof of assets. 

If the petitioner doesn’t submit the right evidence, expect USCIS to send a Request for Evidence (RFE) asking for additional proof of income, or for a second Form I-864 from a joint sponsor (someone else who meets the income requirements). 

In any case, the point is that the best way to avoid delays is to submit everything required up front.  If you’ve already filed an immigration case but realize that you haven’t sent everything then you the missing items after filing.  Before sending in the required documents, however, make sure that you know where to send them, which you can figure out by checking your USCIS case status and your Receipt Notice.

Respond to Requests for Evidence As Fast as Possible

Second, you can speed up the processing times and avoid delays by responding to Requests for Evidence (RFE) quickly.  RFEs are letters sent by USCIS to tell you that there is information or documents missing.  RFEs also state a deadline for responding.

If you receive an RFE in the mail, it’ll often give you several months to respond.  You don’t have to wait this long though.  If you have what USCIS needs and respond immediately, then immigration officials can immediately resume processing your case. 

But be careful not to rush it.  It’s better to submit the right evidence than to just answer them quickly.  So if you need several weeks to gather the requested evidence, it’s better to wait until you have everything to respond. 

If you respond with insufficient evidence or the wrong evidence, then USCIS could easily deny your case.  If you’re not sure what immigration officials are asking for, then it may be time to hire an experienced immigration lawyer to respond on your behalf.

Attend Your Fingerprint Appointment On The Scheduled Day

Third, you can speed up your immigration case by attending your fingerprint appointment and any interview the first time around, instead of rescheduling. 

Many times when you apply for an immigration benefit with USCIS you will be given a biometrics appointment (fingerprinting) or scheduled for an in-person interview at one of their local field offices. When you get one of these appointment notices from USCIS, you almost always have the option of requesting to reschedule. 

But to get a new appointment, you may have to wait anywhere from 1 to 3 months.  Even delaying your fingerprints can have significant consequences.  For example, if you’ve applied for a green card using the Form I-485, you may also have applied for a work permit (Form I-765) or travel permit (I-131).  Until you get your fingerprints done, USCIS will not issue you the work permit or permission to travel. 

Bottom line: If you want to speed up your immigration case, avoid rescheduling interviews and fingerprint appointments.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you have done everything you need to do, but USCIS is still delaying your immigration case, then it is time to look at how to fix the delay. Until you reach that point, make sure and do everything within your power to speed up processing of your immigration case.

Related Topics

Need more helpful information? We've got you covered.

F1 to H1B: An Immigration Lawyer’s Advice

Learn here how F1 students can get their H1B visas, the difference between change of status and H1B consular processing, and how to handle F1 to H1B denials.

F1 To Green Card: An Immigration Lawyer’s Advice

International students often want a way to go from F1 to green card. Learn everything you need to know about how international students can become permanent residents.

I-90 Form: How to Renew Your Green Card by Mail

The form I-90 is an application that is used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) when a green card holder needs to replace or renew his or her card. This page provides explanations of when to use the form, how to file it, where to file and the filing fees.

DACA News: Helping Dreamers Stay Current

Get up to date information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for Dreamers. In this article, you'll find a description of the latest news and other explanations of the current state of the DACA program.

Public Charge Rule: How To Show You Won’t Be A Financial Burden

The Trump Administration has made it harder for immigrants to prove they financially qualify for a green card. Find out more about how to show you are not a public charge.

Check Your N-400 Case Status

If you filed an N-400, you will need to stay on top of the status of your citizenship application. Find out how to check your N-400 case status and more about the naturalization process.

Check Your Asylum Application Case Status

If you are afraid to return to your native country, you may have filed a Form I-589, Application for Asylum. Learn how to check your asylum application status and what to expect throughout the process.

Check the Status of Your I-765 Work Permit Application

A lot depends on getting your work permit -- your job, your driver's license, and your social security card. Learn how to check the status of your work permit application.

USCIS Delays in Your Immigration Case

If you applied for a green card, citizenship, or other immigration benefit with USCIS, you may encounter delays in processing. These can be frustrating, but here are some common causes of delays and how to fix them.

USCIS Delays In Your Green Card Application (I-485)

Immigrants send tens of thousands of green card applications every year to USCIS. Often, you and others confront delays in USCIS making a decision on their green card application. While this can be frustrating, you can speed up the process by knowing the common causes of delays and how to fix them.

Checking Your Green Card Case Status

If you're trying to get a green card while in the U.S., you may have filed a Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. Here is some helpful information on checking the status of your application.

Checking Your I-130 Case Status

If you filed an I-130 Petition, then you are trying to get a green card through marriage or some other family relationship to a U.S. citizen or green card holder. Once your I-130 is filed, you will probably want to follow up to check the status of your case. Here's how.