Congratulations! Your petition has been filed and accepted by USCIS. We have successfully completed another significant step in your immigration case. But you are likely wondering, “What happens next?”
This document answers the most frequently asked questions we receive from clients about this phase of your process.
1. How long will it take for USCIS to process my case?
Once the petition is filed with USCIS, the review and adjudication process also takes time.
Processing times are difficult to ascertain. They vary based on the type of case and the Service Center where your petition is being processed. However, here are some general guidelines.
Identify the Service Center with jurisdiction over your case.
After your petition is filed, it will be forwarded to one of four USCIS Service Centers. Each Service Center has jurisdiction over a specific area of the country and specific cases.
Your receipt number contains three letters identifying which Service Center is processing your petition. You should use this receipt number to track your case.
These three letters and the corresponding USCIS service centers are:
- EAC: Vermont Service Center;
- WAC: California Service Center;
- LIN: Nebraska Service Center; and
- SRC: Texas Service Center.
Visit the USCIS Processing Time Information page.
On the 15th day of each month, USCIS posts the latest information about processing times at its Service Centers.
If the Service Center is operating within its normal processing timeline, you will see a timeframe designation given in number of months. For example: I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Extraordinary Ability (E11), 4 months.
But if the Service Center is running behind schedule, it will show only a date which corresponds with the filing date of the applications that it is currently processing. For example: I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, L-Intracompany transfers, July 21, 2016.
It is of note that: 1) USCIS periodically transfers cases between Service Centers to even out case load; and 2) you can accelerate your processing time by using premium processing if it is available for your case.
2. What can I do to accelerate the processing?
USCIS offers premium processing on selected types of employment visas for an additional government filing fee of $1,225. In exchange, you receive 15-day business processing of your petition.
This means that you will receive a response from USCIS within 15 days. This response could be an approval, a request for additional evidence, a notice, or something else.
If you did not originally file your petition using premium processing, and your petition qualifies for this service, I recommend using it. It provides you with many advantages, including: higher caliber of adjudication, some control over the process of your case, ability to plan with more certainty rather than waiting for months, and enhanced access to the officer handling your case. You can upgrade to premium at the time of the initial filing or later.
Download the PDF to read answers to more FAQs, such as:
- How can I check on the status of my case?
- Could USCIS request additional evidence?
- Do I need to inform USCIS if I change my address?
- How do I travel abroad? Are there restrictions to my travel?
To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us via email at [email protected].