How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

When most immigrants come to the United States, they do so with the hopes of obtaining a green card. But the process is a difficult one that can take years. Learn more about the timeline for getting a green card and how long you might need to wait for your permanent residency status.

What’s the Wait Time for a Green Card?

If you meet all of the legal requirements for a green card, you can put in your application. The USCIS has a program that estimates the wait time of their green card application process. Because there are several types of green cards, the wait time varies depending on your circumstances. The whole process can take anywhere from seven to 33 months.

It’s important to note that the estimated wait times are not exact and may not reflect how long you will need to wait. For more details, you should speak to an attorney.

Family-Based Immigrant Visa

If you are applying for a family-based immigrant visa, it could take years for you to get your green card. This is because many of these visas come with annual caps. Once the cap is reached for the year, you need to wait for the following year to try again. In some cases, you may need to wait two or three years to make the annual caps.

It’s important to note that although a green card through marriage is a family-based visa, it is a much quicker process than the family preference visa. Typically, it only takes between ten and 13 months to receive this type of visa. On the other hand, some people wait as long as ten years to obtain a family preference visa.

Employment Visas

There are several types of employment-based immigration visas. In fact, the government issues out 140,000 employment visas each year. Much like family visas, the wait time for these visas depends on the type of application.

They are processed as they come in, so you could be in for a wait. If you want to speed up the process, you should double-check all of your documents. Any mistakes in your paperwork will add time to the process.

Returning Resident

If you were a U.S. resident but left and could not return within the year, you may apply for a returning resident visa. Unlike the other types of visas, this one has no processing time. You file your application and go through a visa interview. Then, you’ll find out whether or not you are approved.

Diversity Visa

Individuals who apply for a diversity visa need to wait seven months to determine whether or not they were approved. After that, they must wait for their visas to be processed. This usually takes about seven months. Most recipients of the diversity visa are able to travel to the U.S. two years after submitting their application.

What Factors Affect Your Wait Time?

The type of green card isn’t the only factor that impacts your wait time. Some offices are busier than others, giving them longer wait times.

Another key factor is whether or not you work with an attorney. An immigration lawyer knows how to speed up the process and help you get a successful outcome. If you’re interested in a green card, you should contact an attorney today.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan