The processing time to obtain a marriage-based green card (adjustment of status) in the U.S. can vary widely based on several factors. Here are some factors that can influence the overall timeline:
- USCIS Processing Times: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes green card applications. USCIS provides estimated processing times for various types of applications on its website. However, these times can change based on workload and policy changes.
- Service Center: The specific USCIS service center handling your case can affect processing times. Some service centers might have shorter processing times than others.
- Completeness and Accuracy of Application: Ensuring that your application is complete, accurate, and includes all required documentation can help avoid delays due to requests for additional information.
- Interview Requirement: Depending on USCIS policies and the complexity of your case, you may be required to attend an in-person interview. The interview adds an additional step to the process and can impact the timeline.
- Background Checks and Security Clearance: Background checks and security clearances can lead to delays in the processing of your application.
- Country of Origin: If you are applying from certain countries, there might be additional security checks or administrative processing that can extend the processing time.
- Volume of Applications: USCIS processing times can be affected by the overall volume of applications being received.
As a rough estimate, as of my last update:
- Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) processing time: Several months to a year.
- Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) processing time: Several months to a year.
- Green card interview scheduling and processing: Additional months.
This means that the entire process from submitting your application to receiving your green card could take anywhere from around 8 months to 2 years or more, depending on the factors mentioned above.
Please note that these timelines are subject to change, and the most accurate and up-to-date information can be found on the official USCIS website. It’s essential to be patient throughout the process and plan accordingly. If you have specific questions about your case, it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or seek guidance from USCIS.
Green Card Applicants Living in the U.S.
It seems like you’re referring to green card applicants who are already living in the U.S. This scenario typically involves individuals who are adjusting their status from a nonimmigrant status (such as a student or work visa) to lawful permanent resident status (green card holder) while remaining in the U.S. Here’s a general overview of the process for green card applicants living in the U.S.:
- Eligibility Check: Determine if you are eligible for a green card through a family-based, employment-based, refugee/asylee, or other eligible category.
- File Form I-130: If you’re applying based on a family relationship, the U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor must file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to establish the qualifying relationship with the intending immigrant.
- Form I-485 – Adjustment of Status: After the Form I-130 is approved, the intending immigrant can file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). This form allows you to apply for a green card while remaining in the U.S.
- Biometrics Appointment: USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment to collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
- Work and Travel Authorization: Along with Form I-485, you can file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document) to request work and travel authorization while your green card application is pending.
- Interview: Depending on USCIS policies and the complexity of your case, you may be required to attend an in-person interview as part of the green card application process.
- Medical Examination: You will need to undergo a medical examination performed by a USCIS-approved civil surgeon.
- Background Checks and Processing: USCIS will conduct background checks and process your application.
- Decision: USCIS will make a decision on your green card application. If approved, you will receive your green card by mail.
It’s important to note that this process can be complex, and the exact steps and requirements may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Immigration policies can also change, so it’s recommended to refer to the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information on applying for a green card while living in the U.S.
Green Card Applicants Living Abroad
If you are a green card applicant currently living abroad and seeking to immigrate to the United States, you will generally go through a process known as “consular processing.” This process involves obtaining an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country before you can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). Here’s an overview of the consular processing for green card applicants living abroad:
- Petition (Form I-130): If you have a qualifying family relationship with a U.S. citizen or green card holder, the sponsor must file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to establish the relationship.
- I-130 Approval: Once the I-130 petition is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will provide instructions on further steps.
- Choice of Agent and Payment of Fees: You and your sponsor will need to provide information about a “Choice of Agent” and pay the necessary fees to the NVC.
- Form DS-260: You will be required to complete Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application) online. This form collects your personal information and background details.
- Supporting Documentation: You’ll need to gather and submit various supporting documents, which might include birth certificates, marriage certificates, police certificates, and financial evidence.
- Medical Examination: You’ll need to undergo a medical examination performed by a panel physician approved by the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Visa Interview: The U.S. embassy or consulate will schedule a visa interview for you. During the interview, you’ll be asked questions about your background and intentions in the U.S.
- Immigrant Visa Approval: If your visa application is approved, you’ll receive an immigrant visa in your passport, which allows you to travel to the U.S.
- Travel and Port of Entry: Once you have the immigrant visa, you can travel to the U.S. and present yourself at a port of entry, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will inspect your documents and admit you as a lawful permanent resident.
- Green Card Arrival: After your arrival in the U.S., the actual green card (permanent resident card) will be mailed to your U.S. address.
Please note that the specific steps and requirements can vary based on your individual circumstances and the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. It’s important to consult the official website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country for detailed instructions and the most up-to-date information on consular processing for immigrant visas.