How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?
It can take between 7 and 33 months to process a green card application. How long it takes to process a green card depends on the type of green card you are applying for, the location of the office processing your application, and other factors.
- Family Preference Green Cards can take anywhere from 1 to 10 years, depending on wait times and annual limits.
- Employment-based Green Cards can last one year for low demand visas and four or six years for very high demand visas.
Family Based Immigrant Visas Processing Time
There are several types of family-based visas, some of which have an annual cap. The annual cap means that only a few people can be approved for a particular visa each year. Once the annual cap is reached, anyone who applied for a visa that year but whose application was not processed will have to wait until the next period.
In other words: If you are the 1,001st person to apply for a family-based visa, which can only be issued to 1,000 people, your application will be processed next year. More specifically, if you are the 2001th applicant, your application will be processed two years later. This means that the processing time is long and can take many years.
There are two subcategories of family-based immigrant visas:
How long does it take to get a green card through marriage?
It can take anywhere from 10 to 13 months to obtain a married green card. Since the IR-1 visa is also known as a married green card, the processing time is much shorter than a Family Preference visa.
Family Preference visas
Family Preference Immigrant Visas are limited to one year, so the review period can range from one year to ten years in rare cases. The date on which an applicant’s petition is reviewed is called the priority date. The U.S. Department of State publishes priority dates to determine when certain categories will be processed.
Employment Based Green Card Processing Time
Each year, the U.S. government issues 140,000 employment-based visas, distributed by percentage among various categories. The processing wait time depends on the demand for that visa.
Work visa applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
To shorten the processing time, make sure that all documents are in order and that there are no errors in your application. If there are errors or missing documentation, USCIS will return your application to you. In this case, the processing time will be even longer.
Returning Resident Immigrant Visa Processing Time
Returning Resident Visas are for individuals who left the United States for important reasons and were unable to return to the United States within one year. You must prove to USCIS that you intended to return to the United States but were unable to do so.
After you go through the application process, you must complete another visa interview. The consular officer at the U.S. Embassy will notify you if you have been granted a Returning Resident Visa.
This means that the process regarding this visa will not take long. You will then know immediately whether you have been returned your green card or not.
Diversity Visa Processing Time
Diversity lottery winners are announced within 7 months of the initial application. After the announcement, it takes another seven months for the visa to be processed. Applications are usually submitted in October or November, after which applicants must wait for their applications to be processed.
The U.S. Department of State processes the application and notifies the applicant when it is complete. The U.S. Department of State decides when to release the results, so applicants must continually check their status on the website.
As a result, selected applicants may apply for a diversity visa. It can take several months to complete the application and submit the paperwork. You must then wait for the U.S. Embassy to process and decide on your visa application. Overall, you can immigrate to the United States about two years after your initial application.
When Should I Purchase Health Insurance for Green Card Holders?
It is recommended that you purchase health insurance before you come to the United States. Here are some tips on purchasing health insurance for green card holders.