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US Immigration Application Backlog: What to Expect

By Sierra April 21, 2021 3 min. read

The last few years within US Immigration have been challenging. Not only were work visas banned, but travel restrictions were implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and former President Trump made it difficult for foreigners to reach their immigration goals. As President Biden works hard to reverse any anti-immigration policies, these events along with others have caused an almost 2.6 million visa application backlog within the US immigration system. Some immigrant-visa categories are even 50 to 100 times higher than they were just four years ago. Naturally, these events will impact many more applicants, and it’s important to know what to expect!

Impacts on Immigration in the United States

Muslim Ban

The travel ban from mostly Muslim countries was implemented by the Trump administration which has been revoked by President Biden on April 1st, 2021. This policy affected certain asylum or immigration applicants who were rejected if they left blanks in their application forms. Although Biden is reversing these policies, legal immigrants and asylum seekers will still face obstacles making it hard to immigrate into the next year.

COVID-19 Pandemic

In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic spiked, the US suspended routine in-person visa services. The month after, Trump issued and extended a proclamation stopping most immigrants who didn’t already have a visa from coming to the US. Although by July, authorities began letting consulates and embassies reopen for limited visa operations, most stayed closed for all but emergency services.

Visa Interviews

During the month of January 2020, before the pandemic, the State Department scheduled 22,856 family-preference visa interviews. This past January, it scheduled 262, nearly a 99% drop. Immigration attorneys in several visa lawsuits said the State Department continued to use temporary pandemic bans on entry from certain regions as a reason not to issue visas. The department reversed that policy for immigrant and fiancée visa applicants on Thursday. We look forward to more changes like this.

Diversity Visa Lottery

Up to 55,000 immigration visas, a year are awarded by lottery to qualified people from countries with low levels of immigration to the US. Winning a diversity visa is always a long shot giving each one odds of 1 in 267 of being selected and then getting a visa. Diversity visas expire if they aren’t processed and issued in the same fiscal year. But as the pandemic closed US consular sections, this made issuing diversity visas nearly impossible.

Iran’s Military

An April 2019 Trump presidential proclamation states the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be a terrorist organization. This proclamation has not been visited by now President Biden but affected anyone who’s served in the revolutionary guards from being granted a US visa. The biggest challenge with this proclamation is, men in Iran are by law are to serve in the Iranian military. Men who don’t serve aren’t allowed to marry, get passports, or hold most jobs. This pushes Iranians to travel to neighboring counties to apply for a US visa. Many hope to see this policy re-examined in the near future.

Do You Need Professional Immigration Help?

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for VisaPlace Legal an award winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Ready for the next step? Book your 1 on 1 consultation now or call us at 1-888-317-5770.

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Belinda Maraj

Our experience with the team at VisaPlace has been absolutely amazing. Special thank you to Nadia Bakhtiari whom we had the pleasure of partnering with. Nadia was attentive, empathetic, knowledgeable, professional, friendly and accessible. She provided guidance and kept us in the loop every step of the way. We were so impressed with the professionalism and exceptional client experience from VisaPlace that we partnered with them for both our PR application and our citizenship application. Thank you VisaPlace and thank you Nadia!

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betty klassen

We were switched legal teams 3 times within our time there.( This was not our doing) We weren’t impressed at all with the service almost all the way through our experience. Our review would have been 1 star. The response time was awful. To get in contact with our attorney was so difficult. And not thorough. Almost at the end, when we were almost ready to file, we got switched again, but this time, we are thankful. The attorney we got then was Andrew Diamond. He is fantastic and the reason for the 5 star rating. This is his rating. He was phenomenal. Absolutely amazing and prompt with response time and very knowledgeable, thorough and so helpful. We couldn’t have asked for better. Thank you Andrew for all you did for us!

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Arash Sorkhabi

I’m satisfied with the expertise and professionalism with which my case was managed and handled. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the firm for its support. Although it has been a long process time due to Covid, Nadia has always been one of the first people to guide me step by step through the path during this stressful and unprecedented time. I strongly recommend VisaPlace to anyone seeking legal counsel.

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Sarb walia

I am thrilled to share that , We have just got our Permanent residence status under humanitarian and compassionate category. It was great experience to get professional service from visaplace. All team members very knowledgeable, hard worker, polite and professional. Special thanks to Yasmeen Ali, who always guide me through out processs. Its not easy task to get positive output in HM Category. I am highly recommend visaplace for any kind of immigration needs.

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Shannon Wilde

Applying for my E2 Visa was so overwhelming for me. As soon as I engaged VisaPlace all that worry and stress was gone. They guided me through the entire process and set me up for success! I would 100% recommend using them for any of your Visa Needs.

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Julia Rood

I reached out to VisaPlace kind of on a whim, knowing that I needed to apply for permanent residency in order to stay with my spouse and our two cats. They were immediately and incredibly responsive, and almost instantly made me feel that I was dealing with professionals who cared about my case.

I reached out to them August last year, and today got the confirmation that my permanent residency has been approved. The people I worked with in VisaPlace stuck with me through the whole process, answering any questions and assuaging any fears that I had about the process, my application, or what I needed to do. Even when my anxiety made me snappy (I apologized immediately!) they handled my case and me with professionalism and compassion. Immigration is a stressful, scary process. I wanted professionals who knew the ins-and-outs so that I had the best chance of being able to come to Canada.

And now, I get to stay in Canada with my partner of nearly 10 years, and I couldn’t be happier. I would absolutely recommend this service to anyone who wants immigration help! A big thank you, especially, to Alejandra and Nadia for handling my case. I’m so lucky to have had your help!

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Sanjida Prima

Had a great experience working with the people at VisaPlace for a Permanent Residency application! The team I dealt with (Nadia B., Krisztina T., Mansi S.) was extremely knowledgeable, prompt and handled the case with care. I would definitely recommend their services to anyone in need!