USCIS Processing Delays - How to Deal

USCIS processing delays are at an all-time high and there's little sign that things will get better anytime soon. It can be very frustrating, but there are ways to deal with the delay.

  1. File early and have realistic expectations. As always, it's best not to wait until the last minute to begin preparing or filing your immigration petitions and applications. You can get a sense of current USCIS processing times by checking this website. Please note that you will need to know the form number, category, and the service center processing your case. Your Sumner Immigration Law team can assist if you are unsure. Also keep in mind that these processing times are subject to change over time for better or for worse, without notice.
  2. Every case is different! It's tempting to compare your case to someone else's whether you're talking about a coworker who filed the exact same type of case at the same time, and the same location, or searching online websites. However, keep in mind that there are multiple factors that go into a case's processing time, including which service center is processing it, complicating factors in the case, and sometimes just the workload or speed of the officer assigned to the case. Just because your case is taking longer doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong.
  3. If the case is outside of USCIS processing times, we can place a service request. Again, your Sumner Immigration Law team can assist with this, and we monitor our cases regularly for this. However, we can only place a service request once the case is outside of processing times, per USCIS.
  4. Record-keeping matters: Once we place a service request, it's important to keep a record of the date the request was submitted, the service request number, and the expected date that we should hear back. Keep in mind that we may not actually hear back from USCIS. We can attempt a second service request at least 30 days after the most recent one.
  5. Consider other options: If the case is still outside processing times and we have placed multiple service requests, it may be time to look at other options including the USCIS Ombudsman's Office, congressional intervention, or filing a mandamus action in federal court. For any of these options, it's important that we have clear documentation of the attempted service requests and other follow ups with USCIS, and the outcome.

Working with USCIS or another federal agency can be daunting and frustrating, but we are here to help! As always, the above information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please speak with a qualified immigration lawyer before taking action. If you need help navigating the immigration process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you!