How Long Does Immigrant Visa Processing Take

By Tiara

Recent reports about immigration processing times are alarming to both immigrants and non-immigrants. Some sources claim that it can take months, even years, for your documents to be reviewed and processed!

Many people have become aware of this issue due to media coverage or personal experiences with delayed visa processing.

Immigration agencies across Canada experience frequent delays in receiving new client assignments, which can sometimes lead to clients being unable to meet work obligations and/or having to find alternative employment.

This is particularly concerning for employers who rely on seamless employee mobility to fulfill their mission.

It also creates stress for individuals whose lives depend on continued travel for professional purposes. Many feel powerless as they wait for their documents to be approved.

In this article we will discuss what factors affect visa processing time, how long it typically takes, and some potential strategies for minimizing delay.

Heck, you might even learn something else along the way!

Disclaimer: The content in this article should not be used as medical advice since it may differ from your situation. We describe common scenarios so you know what to expect, but nothing here should be considered definitive information pertaining to your health. Consult a doctor for medical concerns.

If you qualify, then the U.S. Department of State reviews your application

The next step is to send in all required documents and proof that you have enough money to come back home if needed. This includes proving that you have adequate funds to live on while waiting for approval as well as paying any entry visa fees.

Many employers will offer employment sponsorship to qualified immigrants. These sponsors are usually given access to use their employee’s Social Security number (SSN) to verify employment eligibility. It is very common for employers to do this before hiring someone so it is not recommended sharing this information unless you know what you’re doing!

Some countries require an immigrant to prove they have lived at their current address for a certain amount of time. Proof can be through receipts, pay stubs or statements showing residence there.

After all this paperwork and evidence has been gathered, the department will review the applications and decide when they can start processing yours.

This could take anywhere from weeks to months, even years depending on how many employees apply for work visas and other reasons.

Once your application is reviewed, the consulate will let you know if your visa is approved or not

how long does immigrant visa processing take

The next step is to wait for an official notification in the form of an email or phone call from a consular officer at the embassy you applied with.

This can take several days depending on how many applications there are ahead of yours and the amount of staff working during this time-frame.

While they do their best to process as quickly as possible, it may feel like waiting forever!

It’s important to remember that even though you have received confirmation that your visa has been accepted, it does not mean that your documents have been sent back to you. They still need to be retrieved before the visa can be issued.

This could take anywhere up to two weeks after processing.

If your visa is approved, the consulate will let you know when to report to the U.S. embassy or consulate to pick up your visa

how long does immigrant visa processing take

Many immigrant visa applicants are not aware of how long it takes for their visas to be processed. This can cause some stress because they have to wait around for proof that their trip is planned before they can leave for home!

Many times, consulates send applicant’s passports back to country offices where there is more paperwork involved in the process. There you must prove either employment or travel plans so that you can visit the United States while on your tourist visa!

This can take anywhere from one week to months according to different departments’ workloads at any given time. It depends on many things such as staff availability, season, etc.

So even though your passport may already be stamped “entry permitted”, you cannot go until this additional paperwork is completed and signed off on.

Your visa will include instructions on how to get to the embassy or consulate

how long does immigrant visa processing take

Finding out how long it takes for an immigrant visa can be tricky, as there are so many different stages involved. Some of the main milestones include having your I-140 approved, filing for the visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in person, receiving notice that you’ve been accepted into the country, getting travel documents (like passports) and leaving the country!

At times, things may go smoothly but other parts of the process drag on longer than expected. This is totally normal and should not cause too much stress unless you have no idea when your next step will happen.

It is very important to stay organized and note any delays on time stamps.

The embassy or consulate will also tell you how to get to your visa interview

how long does immigrant visa processing take

Having this information ready for your appointment is very important as it helps you plan your day! Some interviews are only one hour long, while others can take longer depending on what questions they ask.

Some may even require an additional visit later in the day! This way you do not have to come back the next day, but instead wait until your scheduled appointment.

Be prepared for your appointment by having all of your documents and answers organized and accessible. Make sure to check your emails frequently as well to see if there has been any update from the government about your appointment time.

You should plan your visa interview in advance

how long does immigrant visa processing take

Immigration attorneys can be very helpful in giving you tips for how to prepare for your visa interview. They may also be able to tell you what time your appointment is at, so you know when to start preparing!

Immigration lawyers will usually give their clients an approximate date of completion for the application process. This gives you an idea of how long it takes to go through all stages of processing, from receiving the documents via mail or email to meeting with your attorney and then the consulate.

But don’t get too attached to that timeline! The length of time needed for each step depends not only on the individual agency and day they are working, but also on the number of staff members there and the amount of work being done at the time.

And remember, even if one stage is completed earlier than expected, the next might take longer due to something beyond someone’s control (like bad weather preventing you from coming into the office).

Bring a friend or family member to the visa interview

how long does immigrant visa processing take

It is very common for employers to ask about past employment experiences as well as questions related to your personal life, health conditions, and criminal history. These interviews can be very stressful for you because of this, so it is important to have someone with you who can help you deal with these things if needed.

It is totally normal to feel nervous before an employer’s interview, but don’t worry! You are not alone. There are many resources available to aid in the processing of immigrant visas, including free legal services.

Your friends and family can play a huge role in helping you through this process, especially at times like this when there may be doubts about whether you qualify as an employee under the law.

Bring your original passport and 2-4 copies of your visa

how long does immigrant visa processing take

Even though most countries are not a lot of people, having enough paperwork can get annoying very fast!
With that said, how long it takes to process an immigrant visa depends mostly on two things: 1) The country you’re applying in 2) Your timing.

The first thing we talked about was which countries have limited numbers of employees. This is true even for bigger cities like New York or London where there may be only a few hundred government workers. So when they do exist, these governments usually hire outside contractors to help with processing times.

This is why it is important to have a copy of each document at hand before going to pick up your visa. Make sure to bring enough for several days!

Also remember that some documents cannot be scanned so make sure to also have hard copies ready.