How Does The Immigration Process Work?

Petitioning for a family member before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can seem like a daunting task. The lists of forms, documents and fees seem endless, and the idea of having an interview with an officer can be scary.

Typically, the best strategy is to be organized and to gather all documents (or as many as you can) ahead of time before meeting with your lawyer. During the initial consultation in my office, I will tell you exactly what is needed to move ahead, and I will draft a plan for you that is specifically tailored to your case.

Forms, Evidence And More

The first step is filing the government forms with the supporting evidence (marriage certificate, birth certificates, passport photos, medical exam, affidavit of support with financials and other supporting documents) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Next — typically seven to 14 days later — the Receipt Notices for the case are issued by USCIS, and sent to both the client and the attorney. Then, the next step is to receive the biometrics (fingerprint) appointment from USCIS, so that fingerprints and photographs can be taken electronically at an Application Support Center. Once this is completed, USCIS continues to process the case. Sometimes if USCIS wants additional supporting documentation, a Request for Evidence might be issued, in which case the attorney and client will work together to timely file whatever is requested by USCIS so that the case continues normal processing.

Documents And Interview Scheduling

Not too long after the biometrics have been taken, the Employment Authorization Document and Travel Document are issued by USCIS and sent directly to you via the U.S. Postal Service. Soon to follow, an interview date and time are sent out to you and to your attorney.

Once the interview has been scheduled by USCIS, you and your attorney must meet to prepare for the interview together, to review the applications, to update the records with any changes and to supplement the filing with any additional documents for submission to the officer at the Adjustment Interview.

The Adjustment Interview

Next, the attorney will attend the Adjustment Interview with each client and sit in on the Interview to take notes and monitor everything until the Interview is complete. Hopefully, a decision will be rendered by the officer at the interview, but if not, then we wait for notification — by mail — of the officer's decision. Sometimes USCIS might want to see more evidence, so your attorney will help you prepare final requests and submit them to USCIS for a decision. Then, hopefully, there will be approval!

Contact Me For Help With Your Case

Every immigration case is different. Contact me, Susan Saliba, for advice about your case. My office is based in Dedham, Massachusetts.