There are always certain questions I hear being asked over and over again. Some of the ones that come to mind are:
- How quickly can we have this filed?
- How long is it going to take?
- Why is my case taking so long?
In this brief post, I will attempt to answer each of these questions.
- How quickly can we have this filed? Even though each case is important to me, there is a certain “first come, first served” rule. If someone has hired me to work on a case before someone else, it is only fair that I handle that case first. Sometimes I will make an exception if I am waiting for documentation on the first case or if the second case has an impending deadline. Otherwise, the second client should understand that there may be a wait. I am not talking a bureaucratic wait of weeks or months, but definitely a few days before I can review the case and get the process going. Now, that’s if I am controlling that part of the case. I have also had cases that take unusually long if I request a document and the client does not provide the document until several weeks later. My biggest pet peeve is when a client takes weeks to get back to me and then they expect an immediate response. I try to do everything as efficiently as I can, but if I have to wait for two months for something, I cannot just automatically pick up the case in a matter of seconds. I have to re-review the file and check if changes need to be made. Sometimes form editions change or fees are increased or things have to be updated on the forms to account for the delay that was beyond my control.
- How long is it going to take? Immigration (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – known as USCIS) has estimated processing times, but they are a guidance, not a certainty. For example, even though I can expect to have a decision within 4 months because that is on average how long something would take in my experience, that does not mean that any particular case has to take 4 months. I have had the same case for different clients decided in 3 months versus 2 years. No particular reason given by USCIS for taking 2 years on that case.
- Why is my case taking so long? This last question ties in with question number 2. Sometimes processing times would indicate that a specific case should have already been decided. In which case, there is not much I can do other than submit a case inquiry to USCIS. The problem with this is that USCIS does not necessarily have to give me a clear response. Most of the time, they simply say that they are taking additional time to perform a background check, which is all fine and dandy, except that I have a nervous client that has been waiting for two years.
Hopefully my responses have provided some insight, even though I understand they do not necessarily give a clean-cut response. I would love to be able to say to my client that I will have their case filed on Friday and decided on Monday with no delays, but unfortunately that is not the nature of immigration law.