We have announced in our previous newsletter that the immigrant visa petitions filed for immediate family members (such as a US citizen’s petition for his/her spouse, father, mother or sibling) have been taking longer time to process than usual. USCIS received so many family based immigrant visa applications that some service centers had to transfer I-130 petitions to other service centers to provide faster processing times. Currently, processing times for U.S. citizens filing for their spouses are around twelve (12) months. An applicant may not even request a service request (which is the procedure for cases outside of current processing times) from USCIS before 12 months of their notice date.
Because of longer processing times on I-130 petitions, we advice our clients to file their immigrant visa applications concurrently with the adjustment of status application within the U.S., if possible (such as spouses of U.S. citizens). The reason for this strategy is that, the beneficiary may stay in the U.S. and receive work and travel documents while the I-130 is pending – a process which can take up to 12 months. If the applicants choose the Consular Processing method, (as opposed to Adjustment of Status), the visa appointment at the U.S. Consulate abroad can only be scheduled after the I-130 is approved and there is no ancillary benefits such as work or travel authorization.
Remzi Guvenc Kulen, Esq.