How long does it take for immigration to make a decision on case

Anybody that has applied for an immigration benefit will understand the waiting times can be aggravating. One of the most frequently asked questions is, “how much time does it take for USCIS to make a decision after an interview?”.

Although there isn’t a set answer to this question, there are a few factors that can influence how much time the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes to make a decision.


How Long Does it Take USCIS to Make a Decision?

The time it takes the USCIS to make a decision on your application is dependent on a number of factors. Just two of them are what type of application you are making and where you are making your application from, as some processing centers are quicker than others.

Unfortunately, it is quite common for the USCIS to take a long time to make a formal decision in cases like naturalization and green card applications. Technically, the USCIS needs to provide you with a decision on your naturalization application within 120 days of your naturalization interview. In a green card application, the USCIS is supposed to provide you with a formal notification of their decision within 30 days of your interview. But this is not always the situation.


Why Does it Take So Long for USCIS to Make a Decision?

First of all, the USCIS is a Federal sub-agency that has to handle thousands of applications. Unfortunately, sometimes the large volume of work can not be handled by their limited capacity. Additionally, new policies at the USCIS usually include restrictions to the various immigration applications, which adds work for the USCIS and, therefore, prolongs processing time.

The other factors that can influence your application being delayed will depend on the kind of application you are making.


Green Card Application

Normally, the USCIS officer doing your green card interview will inform you whether your green card is approved directly after your interview. But in some cases, the USCIS officer will need to postpone the final decision due to a lack of evidence.

If this is the case, the USCIS will send you a Request for Evidence (RFE). Usually, this just happens if something unusual has come up in your interview, which the USCIS officer wants more information regarding. Or it can happen if they think something is missing in your application.

If you receive an RFE, you will have between 30 and 90 days to respond and give the required information. The USCIS will only provide you with a decision on your green card application after receiving the required information. If you have to deal with an RFE, you might need to wait a few weeks or even months while the RFE is sorted out.


Naturalization Application

If everything works out in your citizenship application and the USCIS has all the info it needs to make a final decision, you could have your application approved on the same day as your citizenship interview. If this is not the case, then the USCIS has to give an answer within 120 days.

In some cases the final naturalization decision can still be delayed even if the USCIS provides an update in 120 days. This could either be because you did not entirely pass your citizenship test, or because you did not give the USCIS with all the appropriate and required information.

If you didn’t successfully pass your exam, you would have to retake the citizenship test. If the USCIS is just asking for additional information, you will have 30 days to provide it. The sooner you provide the information, the sooner you will have a decision.

If you are applying for a green card and you’re getting concerned about the time delays, an immigration lawyer in Santa Ana will be able to advise whether there is anything you can do to get things going.


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