According to reports, due to visa interview wait times and backlogs reaching new highs, thousands of lawsuits have been filed. Tourists and business visitors wishing to travel to the United States are waiting more than six months to schedule visa interviews or process renewals at most consulates, and the wait for some visa interviews is more than a year. Wait times vary significantly, depending on the consulate.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acknowledged the increase in delays and backlogs in recent years and blamed the problems on the COVID-19 pandemic and resource constraints, including a drop in paperwork submissions with fees and a staff hiring freeze under the previous administration. USCIS released a public statement in March 2022 outlining steps the agency is taking to address the issues, including targeting processing backlogs, expanding premium processing, and improving access to employment authorization documents. A USCIS spokesperson said the agency expects to resolve related processing issues and reach a 95 percent hiring target by the end of 2022.
- “Visa Interview Wait Times Reach New Highs: 247 Days for Visitors/Business Travelers,” CATO at Liberty, July 19, 2022
- “Government Inaction on Immigration Paperwork Leads to Record High Lawsuits,” TRAC Report, July 12, 2022
- “Thousands of Lawsuits Have Been Filed Over Wait Times, Backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,” Reason, July 18, 2022
- “USCIS Announces New Actions to Reduce Backlogs, Expand Premium Processing, and Provide Relief to Work Permit Holders,” USCIS, March 29, 2022