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Visa Processing Times: Factors Affecting Waiting Periods

If you want to get a United States visa, you’ll need to go through the visa process, which includes processing times. Visa processing times can vary significantly and there are several situations where you have a higher risk of experiencing delays. In this article, we will be discussing how long visa processing takes on average, how you can have realistic expectations, and things that could cause delays.

Average Visa Processing Time in the U.S.

There is no way to nail down a specific U.S. visa processing time as it is dependent on the situation and when your visa is being processed. If you are applying during a busy time of the year or the USCIS is short staffed, it could take longer. On average, you should expect your visa processing to take anywhere between 10 days to six weeks, depending on the circumstances.

Staying informed about the visa application process and how busy the USCIS can help you understand how long this could take.

What Can Cause Visa Processing Delays?

Even though the average U.S. visa processing time is not extremely long, your visa could run into delays that could stretch out this process by several weeks or even months. There are some situations where this is preventable, but it can also come down to factors that are out of your control. Here are some examples of delays that could slow down your American visa processing time.

Documentation Issues

The process of getting a visa to the U.S. includes providing the required documentation regarding who you are and why you want to come to the U.S. If any of this information is not provided, isn’t correct, or isn’t conclusive; this can result in lengthy delays if you have to provide additional evidence or if your application is denied.

Your application may also be flagged if some of the documentation is concerning or possibly incriminating. For instance, your name may be similar to a name on the government watchlist, or your home country may be one of the designated countries of concern.

Too Many Applications

The United States is a hotspot for immigrants who want to come to the U.S. temporarily or become permanent residents. Because of this, the USCIS often becomes overwhelmed with visa applications, which can impact visa processing times.

Unfortunately, there is no specific time of the year when you should apply for a visa as people are applying year-round. However, it can be helpful to avoid applying between March and August as these tend to be particularly busy as students are applying for their student visas.

Complex Cases

Your visa application could run into issues that caused processing delays if your situation is a bit more complex. Certain types of visas are more complicated and you may have some trouble providing the documentation the USCIS requires. Or you may not have crucial pieces of evidence regarding your identity, such as a birth certificate, which can make it more difficult to create a strong application.

Immigration or Criminal History

When processing visa applications, the USCIS will look into each applicant’s immigration and criminal history. Any marks against you could potentially delay your visa application or even result in a rejection.

There may be things in your immigration history that show poor character, failure to comply with visa regulations, or a security risk. Those with a criminal history may also find this process more difficult as crimes are taken very seriously. Violent and drug related crimes are especially risky as they often result in a visa rejection.

If you foresee having any issues with your immigration or criminal history, you should hire an immigration attorney to help you with your application. They can help you submit evidence and documentation in your favor as well as navigate any challenges later on.

How to Prepare For Visa Processing Times

If you are ready to take the step and apply for a visa to the U.S., you need to be mentally prepared for how long this could take. Even though the processing time is not extremely long, you should have realistic expectations so that you are not disappointed with how long you may have to wait.

Be Realistic

When you go through the immigration process to get a visa, you must be as realistic as possible regarding how long this could take. Even though the processing time for visas can be as little as ten business days, there is always a chance that this could stretch out several weeks or experience longer delays. Try to prepare for how long this could take and avoid making any time-sensitive plans that may conflict with any delays.

Hire an Attorney

Even though most visa applications are quite straightforward, it is still a good idea to hire an immigration attorney. An immigration attorney will be experienced in this process and can help you navigate any delays or problems you run into. They will also help you as you submit your application, ensuring everything is correct, and you have provided the required documentation.

If more information is needed or some of your information is incorrect, an attorney will be able to help you find a quick solution. They can also help you navigate the process if your visa application is denied. Immigration attorneys have connections and resources that the average person doesn’t have, which can help you stay informed about the latest USCIS news and things that could impact your visa application.

Apply Early

No matter when you choose to submit your visa application, you should always try to apply as soon as possible. Because there is no ideal time to start this process, the sooner you get the ball rolling, the better.

Hire an Immigration Attorney Today

Are you ready to apply for a visa so that you can come to the U.S. legally? Contact us today at U.S. Immigration Law Counsel by filling out our online form or contacting us directly at 800-666-4996 to speak with one of our immigration attorneys. Our immigration lawyers will deal with the government, so you don’t have to!

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