How Long Does it Take to Get a Marriage Based Green Card?
The timeline for obtaining a Marriage-Based Green Card in the United States can vary widely depending on several factors, including the specific circumstances of the applicant, the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) processing times, and any potential delays. Below is a general overview of the typical process and estimated timeframes:
- Filing the Petition (Form I-130): The U.S. citizen spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of the foreign spouse. This establishes the relationship and initiates the immigration process.
Estimated Processing Time: 7 to 24 months (varies by USCIS service center and workload).
- Adjustment of Status (Form I-485): Once the I-130 is approved, the foreign spouse can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if they are already in the U.S. This step involves background checks, medical exams, and interviews.
Estimated Processing Time: 8 to 14 months (varies by USCIS office and workload).
- Biometrics Appointment: After filing the I-485, the foreign spouse will receive a notice to attend a biometrics appointment for fingerprinting and background checks.
Estimated Processing Time: A few weeks to a couple of months.
- Interview: USCIS will schedule an interview for the couple to attend. This interview is to verify the legitimacy of the marriage and assess the eligibility of the foreign spouse for a Green Card.
Estimated Processing Time: A few months (varies by USCIS office and workload).
- Green Card Approval: If the interview goes well and all required documentation is submitted, the foreign spouse’s Green Card will be approved.
- Receiving the Green Card: After approval, it may take a few weeks to several months to receive the actual Green Card in the mail.
Keep in mind that these estimated processing times can change due to factors such as policy updates, changes in USCIS workload, and other external factors. It’s recommended to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date processing times and information.
Additionally, the process may differ if the foreign spouse is outside the U.S. when the process begins. In such cases, the process involves consular processing through a U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign spouse’s home country.
To get the most accurate and current information, consult the USCIS website or seek guidance from an immigration attorney who can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.
Cost to Petition a Relative, I-130 Form
The cost to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was $535. However, please note that USCIS fees and immigration policies can change over time, so it’s important to check the USCIS official website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding fees and forms.
Keep in mind that there might be additional costs associated with the immigration process, such as fees for other forms, medical examinations, travel expenses, and more. It’s recommended to research the most current fee information on the USCIS website or consult with a legal professional to ensure you have accurate and current details.
Expediting the marriage green card application
If you’re looking to expedite the processing of a marriage-based green card application (Form I-130 and Form I-485), there are a few options available, though they are typically granted in specific circumstances and at the discretion of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here are some ways to potentially expedite the process:
- Expedite Request: You can submit an expedite request to USCIS along with your application, explaining the reasons why your case should be expedited. Valid reasons might include severe financial loss, humanitarian reasons, emergencies, or significant medical issues. You’ll need to provide supporting documentation to prove your claims.
- Military Service: If you or your spouse are in the U.S. military, you may be eligible for expedited processing due to the unique circumstances and requirements of military service.
- USCIS Error: If USCIS made an error that resulted in a delay in processing your application, you can contact them to request an expedited review to correct the mistake.
- USCIS Public Services: Some USCIS service centers offer premium processing for certain employment-based applications. While this might not directly apply to a marriage-based green card, it’s worth checking if any similar service is available for your case.
- Members of Congress: Contacting your congressional representative might help expedite your application, especially if there are legitimate reasons for urgency.
It’s important to note that USCIS has specific guidelines for what constitutes a valid reason for expediting. Additionally, expedited processing is not guaranteed and is subject to USCIS discretion. When applying for an expedited processing request, make sure to include clear and compelling evidence to support your request.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information on expediting the marriage green card application process, consult the official USCIS website or consider seeking guidance from an immigration attorney who can help you navigate the process effectively.