One of the most common questions asked by a potential client of our firm is how long their application will take.
While it would be nice to have a crystal ball and be able to predict these things with precision, we typically must rely on a combination of our own recent experience in other cases and the governement’s publication of its standard processing times for particular applications.
We can usually predict with some certainty how long the firs step (the I-130) will take. The USCIS website says they’re currently taking about five months.
But if your spouse is outside the United States, that is only the beginning (and the rest of the process continues to be slow and shrouded in secrecy).
Start with the NVC. An article from Andy Smotiuk in Forbes last week describes the NVC as “the quarterback of the U.S. Consular system” whose job is “to collect all of the paperwork needed to process an application overseas and then to hand it off to a U.S. Consulate for adjudication and approval. This is where things get bogged down.”
Processing at the NVC is a nightmare. It regularly takes them two months just to look at a piece of mail sent, and they rarely respond to urgent e-mails or answer their phone.
A normal, uncomplicated case may take four to six months of waiting at the NVC (that is after the 6 months you spent waiting on the I-130 approval) before the process is completed and the case is ready for an interview. If your case is complicated or it takes a long time to gather the documents they request, then that time can be much longer.
It makes no sense for the USCIS or the National Visa Center to take over a year to decide whether someone can join their spouse in the United States.
I am suffering the same fate, I applied in November 2014 for my spouse. I am a green card holder. After application being received I was called for interview on 31 of August 2015. It was told that my application will be approved. I am still waiting . There is no information from USCIS. The status just say the same, we received your application. No where to turn . It is unfair and frustrating process. I do not know how we can get justice.
If your I-130 interview with USCIS was in August, there might be a number of reasons you haven’t received a decision yet. It could be anything from “they’re doing a background investigation” to “the officer on your case is slow.” Another possibility: is your priority date current? If not, that might be why they’re not hurrying on your case (because your relative can process their visa until they have a current priority date anyway). If you’re worried they forgot about you, you could submit an e-request at https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do.
Thanks for your feedback. Appreciate your blog an that you write about this problem. Now it is at the NVC, It was approved by USCIS in 22 January 2016 but it took one month for it to reach the NVC and I received the letter of a NVC case number on the 10th of March 2016. Then even after getting all processing all the necessary forms and fees it took 5 days for the fees to show up on the website as processed(received), but the documents still not updated on the website. Note that the site can not process payments via chrome browser, https://ceac.state.gov/IV/Login.aspx. I wasted 3 days trying to figure it out. No one in NVC phone line inform you that, they say it might not be functioning due to the traffic load but when I changed the browser to edge and payment processing worked. It still does not work on google chrome for even to check what s going on with your case. The site has not updated, that they received my documents, no reply or update on the site by NVC the documents sent by registered priority post was received. Waiting continues, One and half years has already gone.
I got my petition approval in April 2016, for an application filed in December 2015. I was told that it’s under NVC processing, but I don’t know what to do after? I am stuck here, trying to figure out what’s taking so long? My husband is in the US on green card, and it has been 8 months since filing, but still no luck.
There is a helpful flow chart of the NVC process here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process/approved/contact.html
If the case has arrived at the NVC, you should be getting a notice about what to do next. If you haven’t gotten a notice from the NVC, it might be a good idea to call them.
If you have specific questions, feel free to contact my office and schedule a consultation.
The NVC received my paper work on Dec. 4th, 2016. about 3 weeks after they received it they sent it to be reviewed. Reviewed, the final step before they make an appointment. Now it’s March 14th, 2017. It has been in review for ~79 days now. Every time I call they say it’s in the final review and keep an eye on your email, you should be getting something from them any day now, however there is no time limit for papers to be in review. I have gotten that answer every week for the past 2 months. I have called and emailed, there is no one that can help or tell me anything further. It’s so frustrating, we will be married a year soon and I have not seen my husband since we got married. I wish there was some kind of online number system like you have at most of the government offices that could tell you where they are with processing papers. At least then you can see things are moving and they are getting closer to processing your paper work.
This is a very common frustration, unfortunately. They are a very difficult agency to deal with.