What are Typical Employment-Based Visa Processing Times?

The United States issues a variety of visa types on an annual basis. While it is nearly impossible to determine exact visa processing times, it is possible to make some educated guesses based on the type of visa a given applicant is seeking. For example, most labor-related visas are currently being processed within roughly one to four years, although some high demand visa categories may take up to six years. By contrast, family preference visas can take anywhere from one to 10 years to process.

With that said, it is important to keep in mind that these estimates can change at any time. The current immigration system is rapidly evolving. As a result, when considering how to apply for a work visa in the US it is important to remain informed about developments within the system. Oftentimes changes are made at an agency level without much warning, so it is important to speak with your immigration attorney about the importance of keeping you informed about any policy changes that may affect your visa wait time.  


Take Note of Different US Visa Caps

In addition to both regular and unexpected delays in the process, there are a number of  U.S. visa caps set by Congress that limit the number of visas granted in various categories on an annual basis. Running up against a cap can set your visa processing time back significantly, especially in the event that caps are altered for a given year.

Keeping in mind that caps may change, it may be helpful for you to familiarize yourself with how many labor-related visas are issued annually in each category. At present, the U.S. grants roughly 140,000 labor-related visas annually. Each sub-category is issued on a percentage basis. It is worth noting that some sub-categories are higher demand than others. Higher demand categories of visas tend to be tied to longer application wait times.

–        EB1 visas for specialized professional work receive roughly 40,000 eligible visas

–        EB2 visas for persons of exceptional ability and advanced degree holders receive roughly 40,000 visas

–        EB3 visas for both skilled and unskilled workers receive roughly 40,000 visas

–        EB4 visas for certain special foreign workers receive roughly 10,000 visas

–        EB5 visas for foreign investors in the American economy receive roughly 10,000 visas


Tips for a Smooth Visa Process

Labor-related visas are issued to immigrants sponsored by employers who cannot find U.S. citizens who are available, qualified and willing to take the positions the employer is seeking to fill. In order to give your visa application the best chance of success, you and your employer should consider speaking with an attorney about securing proper documentation and filing procedures. The last thing you want is to experience a delay in your application due to a filing error or a preventable lack of proper documentation.


Consult an Immigration Attorney

If you are interested in filing a labor-related visa application or if you are an employer interested in sponsoring a foreign worker, please consider reaching out an expert immigration attorney at LawTrades. Our approach to labor-related immigration issues is experienced, affordable and efficient. We would be pleased to help you navigate the labor-related visa application process and to answer any questions about that process you may have.