ELIZABETH, New Jersey. If you plan to apply for a green card or are already waiting for your marriage-based green card to be processed, you should expect delays. Additionally, if you are applying to formally become a U.S. citizen, delays should be expected. According to NBC News, some couples applying for marriage-based green cards have had to wait as long as a year to have their interviews scheduled. We have seen client wait about 15 months in some cases. For several years, marriage-based green card applicants received interviews in six months or less. But, in the last year and a half, wait times have gotten significantly longer.
Marriage-based applicants are not the only ones experiencing longer wait times. Individuals who are waiting for employment-based green cards have had to wait longer for their interviews to be scheduled.
Why is everyone waiting longer? It mostly has to do with changes to the rules. In the past, immigration officers generally would interview only marriage-based green card applicants. New requirements require employment-based green card applicants to now be interviewed as well. Unfortunately, there are not more immigration officers available to conduct these interviews. The result is that people just have to wait longer to be interviewed, which means that they may have to wait longer before their green cards are finally approved. Another reason why there are delays has to do with the fact that the system has been flooded with additional marriage-based green card applications in recent years. It is possible that people, fearing changes to the immigration system, have perhaps decided to move faster to apply for green cards. There is also strong reason to believe that USCIS has purposefully slowed down processing of all immigration benefits as part of an “invisibile wall” to immigration under the Trump administration.
The consequences of the longer wait times are many and painful to those affected, including lost wages, missed events, lost benefits, higher expenses, and additional stress. Some families have waited to hold formal weddings in their home countries. Other couples are delaying major life decisions and events like having children or buying a home together until their visa situation is secure.
According to Forbes, the average time USCIS is taking to process any given case is 46% longer. This is largely due to the changes in policies and the additional requirements the Trump administration has imposed on new green card applicants. Forbes also reports that business and employment visa seekers are more likely to face challenges and denials of their applications.
The wait times have also been extended to individuals who are waiting to become U.S. Citizens. USCIS notes staffing shortfalls given the additional workload as one of the reasons why there are delays.
Given all the changes taking place at USCIS, it is important that green card and citizenship applicants be prepared. The Law Office of Eric M. Mark are immigration attorneys in Elizabeth, New Jersey who can review your applications, help you understand the process, and take steps to protect your rights. Visit us at https://www.ericmarklaw.com/ to learn more.
Address: 201 Washington St.
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: (973) 453-2009
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