Some members of the United States Congress have addressed processing delays for individuals dealing with immigration matters. One area marked by Congress for improvement is spousal sponsorships. The website maintained by the U.S. Customs and Immigration services lists wait times, but families in Indiana familiar with the process for I-130 and other petitions that require a spousal sponsorship know these listed times do not tell a complete story.
Immigration law allows individuals who are citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States to sponsor a spouse or other relative who would also like to live in the country. The I-130 petition is used for this purpose and typically takes five months for approval after it is submitted. However, the approval of the I-130 petition is not the end of the process.
Once the petition is approved, the spouse or family member who is the subject of the petition will need to adjust their status. This part of the process can be completed either in the United States or while abroad. It is also the time when most delays happen. Status adjustments are known to take five months or more to complete if applications are submitted while residing in the United States. This fact means that the entire I-130 process can easily take a year.
For spouses or family members still residing in their native country, the National Visa Center takes over after an I-130 petition approval. The NVC is responsible for collecting all paperwork required for the process. Once collected, the paperwork is sent to a U.S. Consulate to receive approval. The wait time for paperwork to move through the NVC system to the Consulate’s office is four to six months.
Advocates for immigrant rights say that there is no reason for families to wait a year or more for these petitions in cases where an immigrant is a party to a legitimate marriage, is not a criminal and does not pose a health risk.
Immigration laws in the United States involve complex legislature that is subject to unexpected change. These facts can be troubling for Immigration law who put life on hold while waiting for the immigration process to play out. Individuals involved at any stage of the immigration process may be able to ensure a smoother process for themselves by speaking with an experienced attorney.