The United States of America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is also a land of immigrants. These days however the process for getting into the country has become lengthier and more burdensome. Any immigration lawyer can tell you that for most cases you should count on some lag time before you are admitted into the country. 

Why Do Things Take So Long?

Immigration officers have always attempted to do their best job to screen out people who may be a threat to others within the country. That screening became all the more intense after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The United States was caught off guard by how something like this could happen, and immediately actions were taken. A whole new department of government (The Department Of Homeland Security) was even formed in the wake of the attack. 

Given all of this, those who wanted to enter the United States were now being viewed with a more wary eye by a lot of people. There was simply a breakdown of trust, and those who wanted to enter the country were going to have wait longer. 

Who Is The Process Quick For?

Believe it or not, as any immigration attorney can attest to, there are some who get to receive their visa faster than others. If you happen to be the immediate relative of someone who is already a U.S. citizen, you can be fast-tracked to the front of the line for your visa. 

It is still required that even immediate relatives send in the proper paperwork to be processed, but that is a lot fewer steps than someone who is not an immediate relative. Understand that there is still a waiting period for that paperwork to be processed, but you will not have to wait as long as many others. 

Who Is The Process Longer For?

Those who are family members of U.S. citizens but not immediate relatives can expect a longer waiting period. This is chiefly due to the fact that they will be required to go through the entire immigration process. An immigration attorney can help guide one through this process, but it is bound to be lengthy one. 

Only about 350,000 people are allowed to get their visa through the family sponsorship process each year. This is the process used by those who are family but not immediate relatives. Since that number is so restricted, those who apply today can expect to wait up to six years before they are able to get into the United States through this method. 

Those Who Wait The Longest

Those who have to wait the longest are certainly those who have missing documents, those who are considered potential threats and thus require more screening, and anyone who cannot prove their intentions upon entering the country. It is possible that someone that falls into any of these categories will be denied entry outright. However, if they are permitted to enter the country, it will likely take a very long time for them to get through the door. 

Someone who wants to come to the United States should carefully plan out their immigration to this country. Having all of the proper documents and paperwork is a good place to start. Do not do anything that will lead to officers needing to take a closer look at you. Finally, consider hiring an immigration lawyer to help you through the process. They know what they are doing, and they can make the process as easy and quick as humanly possible for you.