The US Citizenship Immigration Services (USCIS) has been experiencing delays in processing many types of applications and petitions for immigration benefits, and those delays come in different steps in the process. We’d like to share some helpful information that can help you understand the process better, and where you might be in the process.
The number of U-Visa applications have gone up year after year, and by the latest estimate, it may take 2.5 years for an immigration officer to fully review a U-visa case for the first time. Given the fact that these numbers continue to grow, these lengthy processing times will only continue to grow.
The U-Visa Waitlist was created, to organize the growing list of applications. By law, the USCIS grants only 10,000 U-visas per year. This is known as the U-Visa “cap”, since there is a limit on how many visas are available per year. The USCIS continues to review applications, however, even after the cap is met.
If your application has been reviewed, but the cap is met for that year, you will be placed on the U-Visa Waitlist, which is an I-918 receipt notice. If you have not received that notice, that means your application has still not been reviewed.
Once on the waitlist, the USCIS will grant Deferred Action Status. That means you may be granted a work permit, based on the year of your deferred action status. These permits can last up to 2 years, and can be renewed.
The receipt notice, received after your application is filed, will include the filing date. Your attorney may inquire about the status of your application, if it is in the USCIS’s posted processing time. To see if your application has started its processing, the USCIS posts the current status of all applications, based on the filing date. Follow the link below, to see the posted processing times for initial application review.
Note: This post reflects public information, and should not be taken as legal advice. Only contracted, certified attorneys may make professional recommendations on your specific case or circumstance.