Immigrant Visa Waiting List Numbers Increase

The U.S. Department of State recently released a report detailing the number of pending immigrant visa applications and visa availability at the National Visa Center (NVC) as of November 1, 2010. While the total number of employment-based immigrant visa applications increased by only 110 compared to those filed in 2009, family-based immigrant visa applications increased by over 1 million in the same period.

With the dearth of available visa numbers and the abundance of applications, it is critical to submit applications free of mistakes. This article highlights some of the common mistakes in visa applications and provides some solutions to help applicants avoid processing delays.

Missing or Incomplete Documentation

Most visa applications require a detailed set of documents to accurately identify the applicant, clearly establish the legal requirements for eligibility and to prevent illegal entry into the country. You must have copies of all documents required in the application, including pictures, birth or marriage certificates and residence cards (if necessary). If an affidavit is required for your petition, it should clearly have the person's full name, address and describe in complete detail the events the person has knowledge of.

Applications with missing or incomplete supporting documents are deemed deficient, and are not accepted by the USCIS. Since visa petitions are not filed until properly accepted, an incomplete petition has no filing date. This commonly leads to delays in the processing of the petition.

Incomplete Answers in Applications

Other mistakes are from incomplete or invalid answers. Every question on the visa application must be answered. Answers such as "not applicable" or "n/a" are discouraged. Also, the petition must be signed by the applicant. Copies of signatures are not acceptable. Applications without proper signatures are also considered deficient and will be rejected.

Proper Fees and Destinations

Visa applications require a filing fee and may include a fingerprint fee. Be sure to include your payment of all required fees when submitting an application. Also, sending your application to the correct processing center is critical. Applicants should always verify the address of the processing center before mailing documents.

Following these directives increases the chances that your application will be processed within established timeframes. However, each application is different and may have independent issues. If you have questions about proper documentation or how to answer specific questions in a visa application, contact an experienced immigration attorney.

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