There is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long it will take to get a Green Card in the United States. The time it takes to process an application and learn if you are approved depends on the forms used – the type of Green Card you applied to receive – and where the paperwork is processed.
Not all service centers and offices process all types of forms. In addition, some types of Green Cards have annual caps. This could cause a significant delay. In general, Green Cards based on marriage move through the process the fastest, taking about a year before the applicant has their card in hand.
Understanding What a Green Card Is and Why It Matters
A Green Card is the name commonly used for the document that allows lawful permanent residents to live and work in the United States. It is through this process that you gain legal status to remain in the country. In general, permanent residents may be classified as an “immigrant” or a “non-immigrant.”
- An immigrant petition is used if you want to remain in the United States as a resident permanently, such as if you married a citizen.
- A non-immigrant petition grants temporary status, such as if you are going to school or coming to the United States for a job but plan to return home.
Applicants use different forms depending on why they qualify for a Green Card, such as marrying a citizen, working with a United States-based employer, or moving to join family members already living in the country.
If you are unsure which forms you need to use or how to apply, you can speak with an immigration attorney who can offer advice and guidance. They also may be able to handle your petition and fight any obstacles that arise.
For a free legal consultation, call (623) 742-5400
Current Green Card Processing Times As of January 2022
Processing times for your lawful permanent resident status can vary widely. For example, someone applying for a Green Card using Form I-485 submitted at the Phoenix office has a processing time of nine to 22 months as of January 2022. You can check the specific wait time based on your application and office through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
The IR-1 visa, also known as a marriage Green Card, is among the most common. The processing time is also much shorter than many other types of lawful permanent resident petitions. This is because there are no limits on how many can be issued each year. If you apply using the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) I-129F and submit the form to the California Service Center, your wait will likely be between seven and 10 months.
The wait time is shorter if your petition is processed at the Texas Service Center, where most married applicants gain approval in four to seven months. In contrast, Family Preference Immigrant visas have yearly limits. Some of them could take up to a decade to process. The same is true for some types of employment visas, where they are processed on a first come, first serve basis annually until the cap is reached.
You Can Take Action to Ensure the Process Goes Smoothly
While there is no way to speed up the USCIS processing time, you must ensure your paperwork is in order, completed, and error-free before submitting it. The last thing you want is your petition to reach the determination stage and be missing supporting documents or have a minor mistake that makes USCIS send it back to you. This could cause significant delays.
An Immigration Attorney Can Review Your Petition for Errors
You may want to work with an immigration attorney who can review your petition to ensure it looks good and has all the necessary evidence before you submit it. They can also advise you on how long the process could take and walk you through any additional steps.
Immigration law firms can also help if USCIS denies your petition for some reason. Green Card attorneys can often help clients resolve denials or other serious issues with their applications. This will depend primarily on the facts of the case and why USCIS issued a denial, but you may still have options to get your lawful permanent resident status.
Click to contact our immigration lawyers today
Discuss Your Phoenix Green Card Petition with an Attorney Today
At New Frontier Immigration Law, our lawyers help immigrants navigate the necessary steps to gain legal status and live and work in the United States. We want to ensure you can remain with your family in your home. We have helped many people with their immigration law cases, and you can read about their experiences with us on our testimonials page.
We can help you file for your Green Card or fight a denial in Phoenix. Connect with our team for a strategic session today. The cost will be applied to the services we provide for you. Call (623) 235-8649 to get started.