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Waiting for Immigration Cases: Tips for Staying Positive and Avoiding Common Pitfalls

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For refugees and immigrants awaiting the processing of their immigration status, the journey can be filled with uncertainty and challenges. The waiting period can sometimes feel like an eternity, and the resettlement process be overwhelming. Here are some practical tips to track your progress and maintain a positive outlook during the immigration process.

Set Realistic Expectations for Immigration Case Wait Times

Look up average processing times by case type and geography online at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration website. 

Stay Organized 

One of the most common pitfalls is submitting incomplete or inaccurate documentation. Ensure that all required forms, affidavits, and supporting documents are complete, and organized in one folder or binder. Missing or erroneous information can lead to delays or even denials. 

Be punctual and attend all scheduled appointments. If you have a valid reason for missing an appointment, notify the relevant authorities as soon as possible and reschedule.

Change of Address/Change of Venue

If you change your address during the immigration process or plan to travel for long periods, it is critical to file a Change of Addresses form. Your new address might prompt a Change of Venue (a change in the location of your immigration hearings). Further, any change in contact information can result in missed notifications and delays. [Check with Madison on the status of their Pro Se Fact Sheet for change of address]

Check Your Immigration Case Status Online

Once your case is filed, bookmark the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services case tracker. Keep your Receipt Notice handy so you can look up the status of your case. 

Stay Positive While You Wait

Cultivate a support network of friends, family, and community organizations. Sharing your experiences and concerns can provide emotional support during the waiting period. Understand that the immigration process may have unforeseen delays and challenges that are out of your control. Prioritize your physical and mental well-being. Use this waiting period as an opportunity to learn about your new home’s culture, language, and community resources. 

Follow Up

If you find that your case processing time is taking much longer than average, seek assistance from your immigration attorney or a nonprofit immigrant services organization for advice and further resources. They may also help you take action to advance your case, such as engaging elected officials for their assistance to escalate the case.

The journey to secure immigration status is undoubtedly challenging, but it’s also a journey filled with hope and the chance for a brighter future. By staying organized, tracking your case status, and nurturing a positive mindset, you can navigate this process with patience and determination.


About JFCS Pittsburgh Immigration Legal Services

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) Pittsburgh offers a range of services and resources to community members in need of legal advice relating to immigration matters. For more information, please call JFCS Senior Services at (412) 422-7200 or visit www.jfcspgh.org/immigration-legal-services.