Given how consequential immigration to the United States could be not only for your own life but for those of your loved ones as well, it is certainly understandable to want an answer to your visa, Green Card, or citizenship application as soon as possible. Unfortunately, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) is constantly and infamously backlogged with cases, which means lengthy processing delays are just a natural part of the process.
Fortunately, there are ways of determining your immigration status in Washington DC so you can remain as up-to-date as possible about where your application is inside the processing queue. Additionally, if you believe your application has been delayed for an excessive length of time, a dedicated immigration attorney could potentially help you remedy the situation through proactive legal action.
Once USCIS receives any kind of immigration application or petition, the agency will send a receipt to the applicant via email or text message within seven to ten days and via paper mail within two to three weeks. Along with other important information, this receipt will include a receipt number starting with three letters identifying what office will handle the application followed by ten numerical digits.
This receipt number is essential to checking the status of an active immigration application, as well as to resolving any potential issues with that application. This number is vital to keeping the process organized for both the applicant and processing agencies. Once they have received the receipt number, applicants can input it into USCIS’s Case Status Online tool to check their application’s current status.
It is also possible to determine the immigration status of an application in Washington DC offline by getting in touch with the USCIS Contact Center. Once provided with identifying information, this center can help find a lost or undelivered receipt number, confirm the current status of an application, and potentially schedule an in-person meeting with a USCIS representative to resolve a particularly complex issue.
Even under the best of circumstances, it generally takes USCIS several months or even multiple years to finish processing an immigration application. For example, according to USCIS’s Check Case Processing Times tool, the Potomac Service Center can take anywhere from 13 to 27.5 months to process a Form I-130, depending on who the sponsor is and what type of family member they are filing on behalf of.
That being said, there are cases where processing delays stretch out much longer than they should, often because an applicant’s petition has gotten lost somewhere inside an agency or stuck at a certain procedural stage. In this situation, qualified legal counsel could help resolve the issue by contacting USCIS directly, enlisting help from U.S. Congressmembers, or—in extreme scenarios—filing suit against the U.S. government and seeking a writ of mandamus to compel them to move forward with an application.
Unfortunately, there is only so much information that you can reliably obtain from USCIS about exactly what is going on with your immigration application once you have submitted it. However, making good use of the tools available to you could give you at least some peace of mind in the meantime, and it could also keep you more prepared to take effective action if a delay becomes unreasonable.
Help is available with determining immigration your status in Washington DC from a skilled attorney. Call today for a consultation.