Increasing Visa Application Times
In the United States, processing times for visa applications are taking 46% longer, nearly doubling since 2014. With these drastic increases in processing times if you’re filing an application or your status is expiring soon, be sure to start the process in advance. While these rates may have increased partially because of changes made by the Trump Administration, studies suggest that wait times began increasing during the last two years of the Obama Administration.
As processing times are increasing, individuals seeking H-1B visas (a temporary employment-based immigration application) may be looking at wait times close to a year for U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to make a decision on their application. The Trump Administration now requires that individuals seeking H-1B visas be interviewed face-to-face as part of the application process. These interviews may be part of the reason we are seeing these time increases. In addition to the longer wait periods these individuals are challenged with, they are also facing decreasing approval rates. The number of H-1B visas approved has decreased by 41% since 2017.
Due to the decreasing approval rates, H-1B visa holders are now facing more challenges. Historically, an H-1B visa holder is permitted to change jobs to a new company before gaining approval to do so. With the increasing application denials, visa holders have to consider more before proceeding with a job change. Having your application denied after already changing jobs would ultimately leave the individual without employment. Without employment the individual may have to depart the United States due to lack of status.
There is currently proposed legislation which could help H-1B individuals to gain their visas faster; however, nothing has been passed. Indian professionals specifically face wait times of over a decade to receive a green card for permanent resident status. The U.S. has standards in place to limit per-country quotas of individuals to receive a green card (seven percent per-country). This proposed legislation suggests raising per-country quotas to allow more individuals to gain green cards, ultimately reducing the wait times these individuals are facing.
You can visit the USCIS website here to determine the case processing time of your particular application.
If you have any questions about visa options or your current status, call our offices at (330) 673-3444 or e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.