There are thousands of visa applications awaiting an interview. To put it in perspective, the federal government estimates that it might take up to 15 years to process just the backlog of family-sponsored visa applications, let alone other types of immigration applications. If you have a family member seeking to stay longer in New Jersey, there may be ways to help them speed up the process.
Request an interview waiver for nonimmigrant visa renewal
The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily waived the interview requirement for certain nonimmigrant visa renewal applications. Previously, only applicants whose nonimmigrant visas expired within 24 months were eligible for the waiver. Now, anyone seeking to renew their visa is eligible for up to an extended period of 48 months.
This will give you more time to file your application properly and get an answer faster. Plus, if you receive approval, the waiver will help your family member arrive in New Jersey much sooner.
Extension of stay
Another method to mitigate the visa backlog issues in New Jersey is to apply for an extension of stay. This option allows your family member to legally remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of their visa. It’s important to note that you should apply for an extension before the visa expiration to avoid any immigration complications. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically approves an extension of stay for periods of six months. The approval, however, largely depends on the type of visa your family member holds and their reason for requesting an extension.
Consider participating in an expedited visa processing program
Certain family-sponsored visas, such as the K-1 and K-3, allow applicants to participate in an expedited visa processing program. This program provides eligible individuals with a faster way to receive their visas. The requirements for eligibility vary from one individual to another. However, the applicant must typically meet certain criteria, such as having a valid visa and being married to or engaged to a U.S. citizen with documentation that confirms the relationship.
The backlog of family visa applications in New Jersey presents a significant challenge, but there are options to help expedite the process. By understanding and utilizing these alternatives, you can help your family members navigate the complexities of the immigration system more effectively.