Generally, you can expect to spend a few months to about a year completing paperwork, participating in interviews and receiving approvals. So why is the time frame so vastly different for different people, and what can you do to expedite the process?
Immigrating to the U.S.: Factors that Affect the Timeline
The first thing that can cause the immigration process to go more slowly is backlog. Immigration officials are often overworked, and they have to handle paperwork in the order it’s received; if there are several people ahead of you in line, there’s no way to get your paperwork on top of the pile other than to wait.
There are also caps based on the country you’re coming from. The U.S. Congress has established a maximum number of people that can come from other countries, and the four that generally reach their maximum each year are Mexico, China, India and the Philippines.
Because there are different preferences, or categories, for people who wish to immigrate, you may be stuck in a holding pattern while waiting for a slot to open for you. For example, “persons of extraordinary ability,” which includes professors and researchers, may be approved more quickly because they are given preference over “other workers,” which are given third preference because they will fill jobs that require less than two years of education and experience.
Your paperwork – and filling it out correctly – is an essential part of the process. One missing document or questionable reference can set you back months in the process, so making sure that your paperwork is done properly is a key factor in a smooth immigration process.
Many people choose to work with a Milwaukee immigration lawyer to ensure that they don’t miss anything, because experienced immigration attorneys are familiar with the paperwork, the offices that process the paperwork, and the rest of the essentials for successful U.S. immigration.