How Long Administrative Processing Takes For Immigrant Visa

By Tiara

During your application process, you will be asked to provide documents that prove you are eligible to live in America and that show you have enough money to support yourself here. These documents can include proof of residency or work abroad, proof of sufficient funds to start life here, proof of education or job skills, etc.

Immigration lawyers usually refer to this as administrative processing because it’s not done by an immigration officer but instead by someone with more background in paperwork and regulations than an Officer-in-Charge (OIC). The person doing the processing is referred to as an adjudicator.

Administrative processing can take anywhere from one week to many months. This depends mostly on the type of visa you are applying for and what kind of evidence you are able to find.

It also depends on where you are living while you are waiting to see if you get approved. If you are living in Canada or another country close to the United States, your wait may be shorter. However, staying in the U.S. may make sense since most immigrant visas require you to live there once you receive permission to stay.

There is nothing wrong with the government taking its time when they do their jobs. It is actually their responsibility to make sure that whoever is seeking a visa has authorization to enter the United States and lives in a place where they will be safe.

But even though administrative processing is totally normal, it can feel frustrating at times.

The applicant waits for their visa to be approved or denied

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

After submitting your application, you will have to wait for it to go through administrative processing. This includes having an employee review your documents, making sure everything is legit, and verifying that you do not need any visa services in the country.

Administrative processing can take anywhere from one week to several months, even years at times!

It depends on how quickly Immigration Services get around to reviewing your applications as well as whether they are working during this time.

If no one has heard anything about your application after three months, then something may have gone wrong and you will need to start over. Sometimes people get busy and things get lost so make sure to keep up with them on social media and check back periodically.

There is nothing you can do while waiting other than remain active and supportive of yourslef and the process. We suggest keeping tabs on immigrant news, reading relevant articles, and staying informed of what steps you should take next.

If approved, the applicant gets their visa and it is valid for entry

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

The process of obtaining an immigrant visa can take some time. It depends on many things- how long it takes to process your application, what country you are applying in, and whether there are additional checks that need to be done.

Immigration officials have a lot of jobs – from verifying proof of income, assets and savings, to checking criminal records, health records and credit cards. They also have to make sure you’re not trying to come into the United States for money or fraudulent purposes.

It may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. Most people get their visas within six months if all goes well. There are ways to help speed up the process though!

If you happen to read this article before the eight week processing deadline, don’t hesitate to do something about it. You could still apply after the deadline, but you might not receive your passport until weeks later once the extra paperwork has been completed. Make sure you have enough money set aside to handle this!

Something to keep in mind: Even though it seems like a very quick process, remember that these deadlines only apply to individuals who meet the exact requirements. Some countries of origin are more difficult to enter than others, so even though you may have already spent several days waiting for approval, you may run out again at the next step.

If denied the applicant may be able to appeal or start the process all over again

There is an initial stage of administrative processing where USCIS reviews your application and makes sure there are no missing documents or issues that prevent you from being granted immigrant status.

This can take anywhere from a few days to weeks, even months in some cases. During this time it’s still possible to apply for work authorization or visa sponsorship if needed.

If the individual is already working when they learn about the denial they must either stop working immediately or move onto the next step which is appealing the decision.

Applications are processed in the order they are received

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

After submitting your application, you will be notified as to whether or not your file has been accepted into processing. If it has, then you can expect to receive an invitation letter asking you to attend an interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

During this visit, you will need to prove that you have enough money to return home and also proof of sufficient health to live in the United States. You should prepare ahead by having all these documents ready when you meet with officials.

Once both parties feel that you have met their requirements, you will be given a visa appointment. This is usually one month long but could take longer depending on what questions are asked during the interviews.

After getting your visa, you must arrive at the embassy or consulate within thirty days of being invited to the next step. Beyond that time, you cannot enter the country and must leave immediately unless granted permission to stay.

The government reviews applications in the following order

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

First, USCIS conducts a national security review of each applicant’s personal information to determine if there are any flags that would prevent them from entering or residing in the United States.

This includes verifying employment histories, criminal records, credit reports and other documents. If there is something suspicious, the application may be denied or additional background checks conducted.

The agency also verifies whether applicants have ties to terrorist groups or nations that pose threats to America.

If all goes well, your visa will be approved within about eight working days.

But don’t expect a quick turnaround time unless you’ve got perfect grades and no criminal records. Applicants with more serious issues might take months, even years, to process their visas, says Elizabeth Weintraub, director of immigration counseling at Universal Law Group.

Medical exam

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

The next step in processing your immigrant visa is to schedule an appointment at a medical examination facility. This is typically done through a doctor’s office or clinic, but you can also visit a hospital.

You will need to bring these documents with you during your appointment:

A valid passport

Proof of health insurance (a copy of your policy)

Evidence that you have enough money to live while waiting for approval (proof of employment, monthly income statement, etc.)

If you don’t have any of the above, it’s probably best to get them first so you are not left without proof of identity and residence when you go to the next stage.

Your fiancé must be aware of this process before he/she travels with you for the medical exam. It is his/her responsibility to make sure that you do not require urgent care until all appropriate steps have been taken.

It is very common for immigrants to wait several months after their medical exams for various reasons, which is why it is important to have adequate preparation.

We recommend talking about what time frame you expect to receive your decision letter in advance so that you do not waste time looking ahead by using improper timing assumptions.

Background check

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

When you apply to come into the United States as an immigrant, your application is typically matched with records of other agencies to verify your identity and determine if you have any criminal convictions or arrests. A background check also looks at personal references, employment histories, and education sources.

It’s important to remember that these checks take time. It can be several weeks before we hear back from every agency you mentioned in your applications, so it’s very possible to remain idle while all this work takes place.

At IEC, we know how frustratingly slow administrative processing can be because it happens to us too! That’s why our clients have separate accounts set up where they can stay engaged and informed about their status.

We also help them navigate visa routes such as working holiday visas and student visas, both of which don’t require you to live in the country, making it easier to keep working and studying.

Financial documents

how long administrative processing takes for immigrant visa

An additional layer of administrative processing is having to do with your financial documentation.

Immigration officials will want to make sure you have enough money to support yourself while here, as well as proof that you own or are in possession of the money. They’ll also check whether it is possible to access this money during your stay in Canada.

They'll ask if anyone else can use your bank account or credit cards, and if so, who they share them with. These checks can take several days depending on the length of time needed to verify these answers.

It's important to note that most people don't get their visa status known at the airport. Only those applying for permanent resident status must declare both PR applications and current employment on their entry form, but other visas require only declaration of PR application.