As 2018 comes to a close, we encourage clients to remain aware of a few end-of-the-year reminders:
- Keep in mind that the holiday season is approaching. Law firms, attorneys, and the government will be observing the holiday season and New Year at the end of the month. Expect delays in communication. If something is urgent, notify your legal representative as soon as possible before the last week of December.
- It’s the end of the year; what is the status of my case? If you have filed for an immigration benefit and are waiting on an interview, it is likely that your status is pending, unless you need to respond to a request for evidence or to a notice of intent to deny. If you have already been interviewed and are waiting on a decision, your status is still pending, while you wait on the decision to be issued.
- My current visa or status is about to expire; what should I do? Do not wait until the last minute to consult with a legal representative. With holidays approaching, it is imperative you consult with a legal representative about your case so that there is enough time to process and take action on your situation. We recommend meeting with an attorney or legal representative at least a full 2 months before the expiration of your status; if this is not feasible, we recommend at least a month in advance. Attorneys and law firms will have end-of-the-year deadlines they are already committed to observe and it is not assured that they will be able to file a new immigration application for you by the end of the year if you consult them with less than a month’s notice.
- Provide your attorney with complete documents. If you are arranging a consultation with an attorney or if you have already hired an attorney, the best way to ensure that the process runs the smoothest is if you can provide them with the full set of documents which they have requested early on. If you have received a questionnaire, answering every question on the questionnaire prevents delays in turnover. If you have a checklist for documents, providing everything with corresponding translations prevents delays in turnover as well.
- The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) is experiencing extreme backlogs and delays in issuing interviews. We wish we could control the USCIS turn over time from receipt of an application to scheduling an interview; however, the best we can do is to timely file our applications, keep our applications current, and respond to any requests for new information from USCIS. If a humanitarian or medical emergency arises, inform your attorney asap so that you can provide them with documents needed to file an expedite request.
- Schedule a consultation as soon as possible before the last week of December 2018. We especially recommend this if you have a deadline or expiration of status which is about to occur.
- Look ahead. If you are planning on filing for some immigration benefit in the Spring of 2019, it is better to get a head start on consultations early on. With immigration law experiencing changes on a daily basis, it’s important for you to be one step ahead.
- And finally, keep your documents current. This includes passports, work permits, travel permits, DACA, TPS, etc.
If you would like to learn more about the process, feel free to contact our office at 713-589-20185 or email us at [email protected] to set up a consultation.