Action on a Pending or Denied Application
Processing times for immigration applications can vary greatly. Go to www.uscis.gov to get status updates on your application or petition. You can find standard processing times for your application on the USCIS processing time page. When you check your application or petition status on the USCIS website, you will also be given the option to submit a request to expedite your case. You can also schedule an appointment at your local USCIS office to request an update or ask for an expedited request for your case. Get an InfoPass appointment to check in with your local USCIS office.
If you've done everything you can to follow up on an application, you might want to get an attorney to help you. An attorney may consider whether a request through the USCIS Ombudsman might be appropriate, or whether you should take your case to your U.S. congressperson.
In some cases, like citizenship cases, the U.S. government is required to take action within certain time limits. If the government has exceeded these limits, you may want to seek an attorney to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government. While this is an extraordinary remedy, it sometimes can be appropriate if your case has been pending for a long time.
Request for Evidence?
U.S. Immigration authorities may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) for many reasons. Sometimes, those reasons are simple, and you might be able to handle them easily. If Immigration authorities send you an RFE, it might mean there is a more complicated issue. You should seek an attorney's help to understand the RFE. Do this right away, as RFE's are time-limited.
Denial or Other Unfavorable Outcome
If you receive a Denial or Notice of Intent to Deny, you should consult an attorney. Sometimes a denial can be overcome easily, or sometimes it may be more complicated. The most important thing to remember: most of the time, you will only have 30 days to find an attorney and have that attorney respond through an Appeal, Motion to Reconsider, or Motion to Reopen. Consult an attorney right away to make sure you don't lose you case because you didn't file on time.