A lot of you have received a status update from USCIS saying that your case is being actively reviewed, but then you end up waiting months and sometimes even years since getting that status update without a decision on your case and you don't end up hearing anything from immigration regarding this.
So let's talk about what it means to be actively reviewed in the first place, what is considered to be too long of a wait time once your case is in that active review stage, what it means if your case processing time fluctuates, and why you might still get an RFE or something else after being in active review for so long. Why does immigration take so long? Make sure you stick around, because I'll make sure to discuss these things for you.
My name is Moumita Rahman and I am an immigration attorney. I have been practicing immigration law for the past 13 years. If you would like my help on your case, give us a call at 212-248-7907 so we can book you for an evaluation. We're based in New York, but we work with immigrants all over the United States, so don't be afraid to call if you're not in New York.
So the first thing that we must discussed is what does it even mean to be an active review? Immigration is comprised of multiple locations. There's service center, there is the lock box, there's field office, there's the National Benefits Center. These are located all over the country, and they must engage in a series of actions to make sure that your file goes from point A, to point B, to point C, until you can get your green card or your work permit or your citizenship approved.
Nowadays, because the public wants to know more information about their case status, that is why we now have this electronic system where we can put in our receipt number, our case number, to find out where the case is. So all that it means when your status updates says that your case is being actively reviewed, is that your case has finally made its way over to a location where they will do some further processing of your case and maybe ultimately issue a decision as well. However, what we cannot see is how long it will take for your case to actually be reviewed by the immigration official.
So next, how long is too long when you see that your case is an active review, but month after month, year after year, season after season, it still says the very same thing and there is no movement on your case.
So if all that this means is that your file has finally made its way to a location, then we must now wait for an officer to actually review it and to ask for more documents or make a decision or ask you to come in for an interview. And sometimes, well, most of the times immigration offices are experiencing severe backlogs, especially since COVID 19 has occurred.
And because of these backlogs, many cases might be waiting for a long time to even be assigned to an officer for a review. And then, of course, once your case gets signed to an officer for review, it must still wait on their pile, on their desk. And if you have ever gone to an immigration office for an interview, you may have noticed that some officers might have boxes of files that they are still waiting to review. It's very likely that your file might be in one of those boxes as well.
Why might your processing time fluctuate from time to time? Immigration will undergo at various points in time campaigns to try to catch up on backlogs. And sometimes that means that if your case has already reached an officer's desk, it might still be waiting there, but their supervisor might have a program where they're now saying that in order for us to catch up with this backlog, I'm going to find this fresh officer and give them all the new cases.
And this way, new cases that are filed even later might get a decision faster because instead of being sent to that other officer, it is now being routed to a new officer for a quicker decision. So in that way, sometimes your case might end up taking even longer to process while other cases filed after you might take less time.
But when do you know if it's too long? Check that link for the case processing time. They will give you a range of processing times that are considered to be normal for your case type. If you are still inside that range, even if it's been years, it is considered to be normal and it is not too long.
If your case is beyond the normal processing time, then I encourage you to make service inquiries and even contact your Senator or Congress person in order to make an inquiry on your case. The squeaky wheel does get the grease.
One comment that I get a lot from my viewers online is why, after having your case be an active review for a year or two years, you then finally get a request for evidence. What was immigration doing all this time? Well, exactly what I just mentioned, just because your case says that it's an active review doesn't actually mean that somebody is actively reviewing it.
All it means is that it is in the queue for an officer to actually review it. So by the time they get to it, a lot of time have passed and they won't know to issue you a request for evidence until they actually get there. And what is considered to be a long wait time? Again, this depends on your case.
And in my experience, how long your case is in active review will always depends on your local field office, your jurisdiction, and what type of case that you have filed, and which category it's in. Because many times throughout the year, immigration officers will prioritize certain categories of cases over others. For example, I know that right now citizenship cases are being processed a lot quicker, as are green card cases of immediate family members.
Does the state that you live in affect your case processing time or does it affect how long your case will be an active review? Absolutely it does. Again, some states have more immigration applications filed then others, which means that they will take longer to process those cases and the wait times will be longer, especially if you're in New York or sometimes California or other busy states.
If you have received the actively reviewed case status, let us know how long you've been waiting and let everyone know what type of case you were waiting on. And if you want to find out more about what's happening with immigration and what's happening at USCIS, give my channel a subscribe so I can keep you updated on the news.
Watch my other videos to find out the typical process each case goes through and at what point they might assign you to be actively reviewed. For help on your immigration case, call our office at 212-248-7907. Click here to watch this video and I'll see you next.