If you’re wondering why your immigration case is taking longer than expected, you’re not alone. Delays in the immigration process have become more common, exacerbated by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this guide, we explore some of the most probable reasons behind the extended wait times and offer insights into how to address these issues.

1. Backlog at Immigration Agencies:

The U.S. Immigration authorities often face a backlog due to a higher volume of applications than they can process promptly. While applications are generally reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, those who opt for “premium handling” by paying an extra fee receive expedited processing. Additionally, certain family visa situations may experience delays, particularly when the beneficiary’s priority date is not current.

To check the processing times for your petition or application, visit the USCIS website. If you have a receipt number, you can track the status of your case online.

2. Waiting List for Visas or Green Cards:

If your immigration category has a limited number of visas or green cards available each year, you may find yourself on a waiting list. For example, family-sponsored visas, like those for married children or grandchildren of U.S. citizens, may involve waiting periods of up to 10 years. Keep tabs on your case’s progress and notify the National Visa Center of any address changes.

3. File Lost in the Immigration System:

It’s not uncommon for files to get lost within the immigration system. To safeguard your application, always make a full copy of your documents before submission. If you suspect your file is lost, contact the relevant office promptly, explain the situation, and provide a copy if necessary. Consulting an immigration attorney may be advisable if the resolution is delayed.

4. Incorrect Address for Immigration-Related Mail:

If you’ve changed your address since filing your application, inform USCIS using Form AR-11 or the Change Address service. Failure to update your address may result in missed notifications. USCIS may not always communicate address changes to the office handling your case, so it’s wise to contact them directly and provide a copy of the address update.

5. Extended Security Check Processing Time:

If your application requires a security check involving fingerprint submissions to the FBI or other agencies, be prepared for a potentially lengthy processing period. This delay can be particularly noticeable if you have a common name or a complex background. Patience is crucial during this stage of the process.

6. Inadequate Response to Request for Evidence (RFE):

If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE), promptly gather and submit the requested documents. Ignoring or responding late to an RFE can significantly delay the approval process. Check your CEAC Account for messages and ensure you address any RFE promptly to avoid further complications. If in doubt, consult with an immigration attorney for guidance.


Understanding the reasons behind delays in immigration cases is the first step toward finding solutions. Whether it’s addressing a backlog, navigating waiting lists, safeguarding your files, updating your address, or responding to requests promptly, proactive measures can help expedite the resolution of your immigration case. If challenges persist, seeking legal advice from an immigration attorney is recommended.

This post was written by Okoye Morgan Jr., a lawyer with extensive knowledge as a personal injury lawyer in Tampa, FL. Okoye is one of the founding partners of The Black Law Company, the best immigration lawyer in Tampa.

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