Why does USCIS take so long to process my spouse visa application?

In most spouse visa cases, several months go by between the initial filing/biometrics appointment and the actual interview.  People often wonder why that is. 

Let me explain what’s happening to your application:

1.  Initial processing

First, your package is received by contractors working for USCIS.  They accept and review the paperwork for an initial determination as to whether the required forms and supporting documents have been filed.

These contractors work with a checklist to help them review each document carefully.  The submitted filing fees are converted to ACH (automated clearing house) and deducted directly from the bank.

The applications are then forwarded to the National Benefits Center in Lee’s Summit Missouri.

2.  National Benefits Center (NBC)

The NBC was created by USCIS in 2001.  The NBC’s mission is to process applications that are to be sent to a local service center for interview.

Each application (work authorization, travel document, spouse visa and green card application) is assigned a case number.  The NBC was originally called the Missouri Service Center, so the first three letters of the case number are always MSC.  The non-citizen spouse also receives an alien identification number (A#).

The NBC conducts a more thorough review of the application.  If information or evidence is missing, the NBC sends out a request for evidence (which we discussed in an earlier email).

 

3.  FBI Name Check

The third piece of the puzzle before an interview is scheduled is the FBI name (or background) check.  After biometrics are conducted, the fingerprints are sent to the FBI for a check of local and national criminal databases.

The check is very thorough.  Serious traffic, misdemeanor and felony arrests and convictions are identified.  This is important because all arrests and convictions will be discussed at the interview.

We generally obtain the same records BEFORE filing so that we are adequately prepared for whatever may come up.  It also demonstrates why it is important that you tell us everything regarding any interaction that you have ever had with the law.

These are the three stages that must take place before you and your spouse attend the green card interview.  If you have any questions, please give us a ring at (314) 961-8200.

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