Reasons Why Your Immigration Case May Be Delayed

Reasons Why Your Immigration Case May Be Delayed

It is a waiting game when it comes to immigration, whether you’re handling a petition, visa, or another type of application. That’s just the nature of these things. You must understand that delays or long waiting times are out of your control and out of the control of your attorney and, as a result, it’s really no one’s fault. The best thing you can do is inquire about the status of your application with your attorney.

However, despite knowing that it’s out of your control, it can still be stressful the longer a visa application takes. That is why it might help to know a few of the possible reasons your immigration case is taking so long. Note that due to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, there is another layer of delay now in every part of the immigration process.

Here are a few reasons why your immigration case may be taking longer than it should:

There is a Large Influx of Applications

Every year, more and more people apply to immigrate to the U.S. This leaves immigration offices with hundreds and thousands of applications to go through every year. That is why one of the most likely reasons your immigration case is taking long is because the office with your case is backed up.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews applications on a first-come, first-served basis. So depending on when you applied and if you paid extra for “premium processing,” in the case of an employment visa, it might take a while before the authorities get to your application. Note that the great majority of applications do not have the ability to pay extra for premium processing, a process that, for some visas, makes the immigration process move faster.

Also, be aware that every USCIS Service Center and office might have different processing times. Where your application ends up depends on where you live. To check for your application’s processing time you can go to the “Check Processing Times” page on the USCIS website or on our website to get an idea of how much waiting you might be in for.

The Visa or Green Card Waiting List

Another reason for the long waiting time is that, depending on your visa type, there may be a certain number of visas available that year. For example, anyone immigrating via a United States citizen sibling, and coming from Mexico, will wait for that type of visa, as of this writing, for approximately 23 years.

The System Has Lost Your File

Sometimes, your worries that your file has been lost or misplaced are not unfounded. With the number of applications the immigration authorities receive each day, one wrong move, mistake, or misplaced file can mean a world delay for you.

The best thing you can do to help yourself is keep inquiring with immigration about your case or, at worst, reapply again.

They Have the Wrong Address

If you have moved since filing your application with USCIS, they may have the wrong address. When you inform the agency or office about your change of address, it’s best to submit a change of address notification for every application you submitted.

While that might seem like overkill, remember that these offices are dealing with countless applications. There are gaps where human error can occur. It’s best to do more when talking about your immigration case as it can mean the difference for your processing time.


Applying for immigration is a long journey. There’s simply no way around that. However, there are times when a mistake or lack of communication can derail your immigration process. The best thing you can do is prepare extra copies of your application, be cooperative and communicative with USCIS, track your application status, and most of all, be patient.

If you suspect that something else has caused the delay of your application, see an immigration lawyer today. The San Diego Immigration Law Office has some of the best immigration lawyers in San Diego. We are here to help you with all of your immigration needs.