Our immigration attorneys answer how long USCIS takes to process marriage Green Cards. We understand applying for a marriage-based Green Card is an exciting step toward building a family life in the United States. However, the time it takes to complete the entire process can vary based on several factors.
Understanding the general timeline and the elements influencing the processing time can help you manage your expectations during this important journey. If you feel overwhelmed by the forms and process, an experienced immigration lawyer can guide you and explain your immigration possibilities.
How Long does It Take to Get a Marriage Green Card After You Apply?
Our lawyers answer many questions on a daily basis, and the processing time for a marriage-based Green Card application is one of the most frequent. And it can range from several months to over a year. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes applications as they are received.
While USCIS aims to provide timely processing, the actual duration can be influenced by various factors, including the complexity of the case and the USCIS workload.
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Understanding the Process of Obtaining a Marriage-Based Green Card
The journey to acquire a marriage-based Green Card is a multifaceted process, encompassing several stages, each of which contributes to the overall timeline of the application. This comprehensive overview outlines the key steps involved in this intricate process:
- Petition and Marriage Green Card Application. The initiation of the process rests with the U.S. citizen spouse, who submits Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of their foreign-born spouse. Once this petition is approved, the foreign-born spouse can file Form I-485. This fundamental step marks the formal application for the Green Card.
- Biometrics Appointment. The foreign-born spouse must attend a biometrics appointment after submitting Form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This appointment involves the collection of fingerprints, photographs, and a signature, which are subsequently used for thorough background checks and security clearances.
- Marriage Green Card Interview and Approval. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) schedules an interview to ascertain both the marriage’s legitimacy and the foreign-born spouse’s eligibility for a Green Card. During this interview, the couple may be questioned about their relationship, marriage history, and plans. If the interview is successful and all requisite documents are deemed in order, USCIS may approve the Green Card application.
- Receive Your Marriage Green Card. Upon receiving approval, the foreign-born spouse is issued their marriage-based Green Card, signifying the attainment of lawful permanent resident status within the United States. This vital document confers the right to reside and work in the country and symbolizes a significant step towards embracing life in the U.S. as a permanent resident.
While those steps provide a comprehensive outline of the marriage-based Green Card application process, it’s important to note that the duration and specifics of each stage can vary based on individual circumstances.
By consulting an experienced immigration attorney, you can navigate potential complexities, ensure accurate adherence to guidelines, and work towards a successful outcome.
Aspects That Affect the Time a Green Card Takes to Process
The processing time for a marriage-based Green Card can vary depending on several factors. Two significant aspects that can influence the processing time are whether the immigrant spouse is living inside or outside of the U.S. Here’s how these situations can impact the timeline:
If the Immigrant Spouse Is Living Inside of the U.S. (10–13 Months)
If the foreign-born spouse already possesses a valid visa, the overall processing time for a marriage-based Green Card application tends to be shorter. The process generally takes 10 to 13 months, from applying to receiving a Green Card.
This expedited timeline is because the immigrant spouse is already present in the U.S., eliminating the need for consular processing. According to our immigration attorneys, The USCIS can process the application more efficiently, and the foreign-born spouse can often remain in the U.S. In contrast, their Green Card application is being reviewed.
If the Immigrant Spouse Is Living Outside of the U.S. (11–17 Months)
If the foreign-born spouse currently resides outside the United States, the processing time for the marriage-based Green Card application is typically longer. The process usually takes around 11 to 17 months from start to finish.
In this scenario, the Green Card application involves consular processing. After USCIS approves the I-130 petition, the case is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), which coordinates with the U.S. consulate in the foreign-born spouse’s home country. This process introduces additional steps and administrative procedures, which can extend the overall timeline.
It’s important to note that these estimated processing times are subject to change based on USCIS workload, policy changes, and other unforeseen circumstances. While these timelines provide a general idea, an attorney with experience in family petitions can give you a more precise time frame.
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An Experienced Attorney Can Estimate How Long Your Application Will Take
Each marriage-based Green Card application is unique, and various factors can influence the processing time. Working with an experienced immigration attorney, such as those at New Frontier Immigration Law, can help you navigate the process, ensure that all required documents are submitted correctly, and estimate how long your specific case might take.
Applying for a marriage-based Green Card is a significant step, and understanding the timeline and requirements can help ease the journey toward obtaining permanent residency in the United States. Contact New Frontier Immigration Law today, and let us answer all your questions.