Green Card – Information on the U.S Permanent Residence

What Kinds of Family-Based Green Cards Are There?

These green cards are only available to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. If you keep up with the monthly visa bulletins released by the Department of State, you will see that these green cards have been excluded. This is because one of the main benefits of these is the fact that the priority dates for IR visas are automatically current, meaning that there is no obligatory waiting period once the petition has been approved. See the difference between IR-1 and CR-1 visas in our detailed guide.

Here are the five IR green cards:

The process of bringing an immediate family member to the U.S. can be quite lengthy, considering that you will have to search and fill out appropriate forms, and provide necessary supporting evidence. With VisaNation, there is no guesswork, our lawyers will take control of your application. Start your application today!

These green cards are available to the non-immediate relatives of U.S. citizens as well as the immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents (green card holders). In contrast to the IR green cards, these do have backlogged priority date waiting times.

You will need to select the green card that best fits your situation and that of the person who is receiving the visa.

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Generally, family-based green card applicants can expedite the processing time by having the petitioner file the I-130 petition properly and submit all the required documents. This, however, will only have an impact on the I-130 petition.

There is another option for beneficiaries who are F2A applicants. If the sponsor becomes a citizen while they are still in the green card waiting line, they will be able to expedite the process. In this case, your sponsor will need to send a letter to the National Visa Center indicating that he or she is now a citizen. This will pave the way for your green card application to be processed as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.

Family-Based Green Cards Categories and Processing Times

Family-based green cards can be broadly grouped into two categories. They are the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and the family preference category.

This second category is for specific, more distant family members of U.S. citizens and some specified family members of lawful permanent residents. It consists of four subgroups, F1, F2, F3, and F4. You can see the breakdown of green cards allocated per category per year below.

Green Card – Information on the U.S Permanent Residence

The relationship between the petitioner and the sponsored foreign national will determine the processing time for the green card application. Not sure which category your family members fall into? We can help you with every aspect of bringing your family to the U.S. Get started today!

Immediate Relative Green Card

This particular visa category enjoys a higher preference over other family-based green card types for two major reasons. It does not have an annual limit, meaning there is always there is an unlimited number of visas so long the applicant and the sponsor are eligible.

Also, immediate relative applicants don’t have to worry about the green card waiting line as in other categories. The adjudication process starts as soon as the I-130 petition is received by the USCIS. Once it is approved, the green card will immediately become available.

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Family-Based Green Card Processing Time for Immediate Relative Applicants

Because green cards are always available for this category, both the U.S. sponsor and the beneficiary are allowed to file their I-130 petition and I-485 status adjustment form at the same time, provided the applicant is in the U.S. under a non-immigrant status.

The two forms can be processed concurrently to ensure a short processing time. The waiting period for this will depend on the service center in charge of your application. You can check the most up-to-date service center processing times with the USCIS processing times tool.

Say for example, you are filing an AOS to get a marriage green card. If the spouse is a U.S. citizen and the foreign partner is living in the U.S. then it will take about 8-12 months to get a permanent resident card. In the meantime, you can also apply for a work permit as well as advance parole travel documents while you wait to get your green card. If the foreign partner is outside of the U.S., then the process takes a bit longer (16-18 months). If the I-130 is for a permanent resident filing for a spouse or child under 21, the processing time is 16-30 months.

Whether you are in the U.S. or outside of the U.S., we can make your immigration process much easier. We will be with you every step of your immigration journey – from application to approval. At VisaNation, we make sure that your application is complete right, the first time, eliminating unnecessary delays. Get started today!

For immediate relatives outside the U.S., concurrent processing is not allowed. You will have to wait for the I-130 petition filed by your sponsor to be approved and wait for your priority date to become current before you can apply for a family-based green card through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Find out how you can Track Your Green Card.

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The processing time at this point will be dependent on the caseload at the embassy or consulate. You will need to factor in the immigration interview schedule and other consular processing requirements.

Understanding which category your family members fall into is crucial in estimating timelines for family-based immigration. Longer wait times can be draining and the process can become tiresome. At VisaNation, we aim to help you submit your application as fast as possible to shorten your immigration journey. Start today!

Family-Based Green Card Processing Time for Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents

As a U.S. permanent resident (green card holder), you are allowed to petition for your spouse or unmarried children to obtain green cards. Unlike a U.S. citizen, a green card holder is not permitted to petition for siblings, parents, or married children. The annual visa cap for the family members of green card holders is 114,200. The category is known as the second preference (F2), and it is split into two subcategories, namely F2A and F2B:

Family-based green card applicants under this category may also experience quite a long processing time of up to 12 months and above. And in some cases, it may be as long as 5 to 10 years. Processing times can be a lot longer if your application is incomplete or contains errors. VisaNatin attorneys focus on creating applications of the highest standard for our clients, which increases the chances of approval. Get started today!

Family-Based Green Card Application Process

The first step in a family-based green card application is the I-130 petition, which must be filed with the USCIS by a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. The I-130 is filed to establish the familial relationship that exists between the petitioner and the beneficiary.

After receiving the petition, the USCIS will process it and determine if all the family-based green card eligibility criteria are met by both the petitioner and the beneficiary. Once the I-130 petition is approved and there is an available immigrant visa for the category, then the visa beneficiary will need to take the next step by either applying for status adjustment or going through consular processing. This will depend on whether the sponsored family member is in the United States or abroad.

Green Card Processing for Family Members in the U.

This process is known as adjustment of status, in which you will need to file the I-485 with the USCIS. This is your main green card application after establishing a qualifying familial relationship with I-130 petition. It must be filled along with all the required documents attached.

The I-485 and I-130 forms can be submitted simultaneously by applicants who are immediate relatives, meaning that their category does not have numerical limitations. Are you only thinking about applying for a family green card? At VisaNation, we can assist you throughout the entire process, from application to approval. Get started today!

Green Card Processing for Family Members Outside the U.

This is known as consular processing. In this case, the approved I-130 will be forwarded to the appropriate embassy or consulate in the country where you (the beneficiary) reside. Both the petitioner and beneficiary will be notified when the petition reaches the embassy or consulate.

The notification will also contain when and how to proceed with your green card process through consular processing. These next steps involve a one-on-one interview with a consular officer to verify your eligibility. The required form for this is the DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.

Other steps involved:

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How Much Is a Green Card Application Fee?

In terms of family-based immigration cases, your green card application fee could be as low as $1,200 and as high as $1,760. The former is for the price for individuals applying from outside the U.S., and the latter is for the ones applying from within the country. These figures are only relevant to immigration cases that are straightforward and do not receive rejections, reconsideration, or other procedural setbacks.

The above cost of a green card application does not include medical examination fees. This varies drastically from country to country and even between cities in some countries. On average, you can expect to pay around $300 for your exam. However, prices can vary from $100 to $500 per exam.

When considering how much a green card will cost you, you should also consider additional fees you may encounter during the application process.

Immigration Medical Examination Fee 2023

immigration medical exam is compulsory for all applicants getting family-based green cards. The results of the exam are used to determine if an applicant has a disease or infection that could threaten the public health of United States residents.

The examination will be done by a physician accredited by the U.S. embassy abroad or the USCIS if the applicant is in the United States. Neither the embassies nor the USCIS regulates the medical examination fees as they vary among accredited physicians. However, on average, you should expect to pay between $100 to $500.

Family-Based Green Card Processing Time for Other Family Members of U. Citizens

While family members of U.S. citizens enjoy certain immigration processing preferences, those who don’t meet the definition of “immediate relatives” will have to pursue a family preference category.

For this set of people, there is no automatic availability of visas. After the approval of the I-130, the applicants will have to wait until there is a visa number available for them. The wait time for this subcategory can be up to 12 to 36 months. In some cases, it may even take 5 to 10 years.

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EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa

A US green card allows immigrants to gain permanent residency in the United States, either through a family-based or employment-based sponsorship.

The process of international relocation is difficult enough — not to mention that the green card process is different with each path and the processing times vary based on your situation.

To help out, we’ve put together this guide that explains all of the various terms and steps you need to know to successfully apply for your green card!

Types of Employment-Based Green Cards

Note that the employment-based green card process steps can only be started and driven by your employer, meaning you cannot self-sponsor it. As you probably already know, there are other ways to obtain a green card, such as the green card lottery. However, in this article, we focus on Employment-Based Green Card categories and processes.

There are also EB-4 and EB-5 categories, yet these do not fall under the preference system of the first three employment-based categories.

These are the different employment categories that one can gain a green card sponsorship.

EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers

EB-1 visas (first preference category) apply to individuals who have extraordinary abilities, are outstanding researchers or professors, or show evidence of some “sustained national or international acclaim.” One example of this would be a Nobel Peace Prize winner or an executive or manager of foreign companies.

Only a few applicants fall under this qualification, but if this category applies to you, then you’re in luck! Individuals under EB-1 eligibility typically experience the quickest application process for a green card.

EB-2 Visa for Advanced Degrees

This category is for those who have advanced degrees, exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or a National Interest Waiver.

Advanced degrees are considered to be a U.S. master’s degree or higher (or the foreign equivalent), or a U.S. bachelor’s degree plus an additional 5 years of experience within the specialty.

Exceptional Ability

Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business means “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered” within those fields. This is based on a number of criteria, of which you must meet at least three.

National Interest Waiver

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is for those who request that the PERM/Labor Certification (stage 1 of the green card process steps) be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. There is no defined qualification for an NIW, but they are typically granted to those who have exceptional abilities.

EB-3 Visa for Skilled Workers, Professionals, or Other Workers

Last up, is the third preference category for those who have jobs that don’t apply to the first two categories. For each of these worker categories, the work performed must be one of which there are not enough qualified workers already available in the United States.

Other EB Categories

In addition to the first three employment-based preference categories, there are two additional preference categories (EB-4 and EB-5).

Qualifying for Multiple Categories

Typically, the smaller the reference number (excluding EB-4 and EB-5), the easier the experience you will have with attaining your green card. If you qualify for both EB-2 and EB-3 visas, you should consider what country you are applying to to determine what category to apply under.

Those who are applying from highly-populated countries, such as from China or India may want to apply for an EB-2 visa over an EB-3 visa due to the shorter wait time. Yet, the approval for an EB-2 visa can be more difficult than obtaining approval for an EB-3 visa.

These are the basic three stages of getting an employment-based green card (EB2 and EB3) in the US:

Each of these stages is explored in more detail below.

Now that you know which employment-based category you fall under, these are the actual steps to attaining your green card status. There are three main stages in the process of getting your green card.

PERM/Labor Certification Stage

PERM stands for “Program for Electronic Review Management” and is the process where your employer shows proof that you (a foreign worker) are not taking away jobs from qualified US workers. This green card step can be done by showing proof, such as a newspaper advertisement, that the employer was unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified U.S. worker for the position.

For a more in-depth look at the PERM processing time, see below.

I-140 Immigration Petition

The I-140 Petition serves two purposes,

It is important to note that filing an I-140 petition requires a $700 filing fee for regular processing or $1,225 for premium processing.

The USCIS processing time for an I-140 petition depends on whether your employer chose regular or premium processing. Regular processing can take 6 to 9 months, whereas premium processing only takes up to 15 days. Fortunately, most employers choose premium processing for this stage.

To know the exact processing time for your I-140 Immigration Petition, you can visit the USCIS Processing Time Homepage.

I-485 Application to Adjust Status

After the PERM/Labor Certification and your I-140 petition have been approved by the USCIS, the last step is completing the actual green card application!

Unfortunately, since there are only a certain number of green cards available per category and per country, this process is often the longest for applicants. There are current applicants who have been waiting for over 10 years for their 1-485 applications to be processed by the USCIS.

However, once your I-485 application has been processed and approved, you’re done! You will receive a stamp on your passport and the long-awaited card granting you permanent residence in the United States.

PERM Processing Time 2022

To understand how long your PERM processing will, you must first understand the overall PERM application process. There are three steps to the PERM application:

Each of these steps is discussed in more detail below.

Prevailing Wage Request

In this step, your employer will file a prevailing wage request to determine your pay/salary, based on where your job is located and the current economic environment.

Processing times for this step can vary from a few weeks to a couple of months, depending on the volume of requests.

PERM Processing Step 2

During this step, your employer must go through an extensive recruitment process. The employer will post multiple job listings and advertisements and interview any U.S. workers who apply.

PERM Processing Step 3

To complete the PERM process, your employer must complete and file an ETA-9089 form.

When the application is submitted online by your employer, a decision will be sent, typically, within 6 months if the application is not audited, making this the quickest possible option.

PERM Processing Time Breakdown

So, if your employer completes all of the PERM-related tasks in a timely manner the timeline might look like this:

In this ideal scenario, the complete PERM Processing can be complete in a little more than 34 weeks or almost 9 months. Bear in mind, though, that this is the ideal scenario and there are many factors that can extend the duration of the process.

Green Card Processing Times

So, how long does it take to get a green card? For the most part, EB green cards’ processing times will depend on the service center where your petition is processed. The total processing time also depends on the steps in the process that need to be completed.

I-140 Processing Time 2022

The I-140 is your immigration petition. With the I-140 the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) labor certification job requirements and the employer’s ability to pay the offered wage to the employee, is verified. All EB green cards require a Form I-140.

The I-140 processing time is usually around 6 months but largely depends on the service center. Most service centers will give you an estimate but remember these are just estimates.

The USCIS also offers a premium processing service for Form I-140 which brings the processing time down to 15 calendar days. Premium processing comes at a fee of $1,225.

EB1 Green Card Processing Time 2022

EB1-A is an employment-based, first-preference immigrant visa for individuals with exceptional abilities in the fields of science, art, education, business, or athletics. When applying, you will have to show how your expertise and skill will benefit the U.S.

EB1-A visas have expedited processing times due to not having to go through the PERM labor certification process.

The processing time for your EB-1B green card will depend largely on the service center where your application is processed. Processing and receiving approval for your “Extraordinary Ability” petition via your I-140 form can sometimes take up to six months since filing with the USCIS. It might be worth considering premium processing.

Premium processing will bring processing time down to 15 calendar days. There is a premium processing fee of $1,225 that will apply.

After your I-140 has been approved, you still need to submit your Form I-485 after you have reached your priority date. The Form I-485 processing time is also around 6 months.

You can check the current month’s Visa Bulletin to see which priority dates have become current.

EB1B Green Card Processing Time 2022

The EB1-B is also a subcategory of priority workers. Individuals who have received international recognition for being outstanding in a specific academic area qualify for this category. You will need at least three years of experience in research or teaching in your academic field. This category requires an offer of employment (although no labor certification is required).

The processing time for your EB-1B green card will also depend on the service center where your application is processed. As explained above, your I-140 petition can sometimes take up to six months, unless you choose premium processing which brings this time down to 15 calendar days.

After you have waited for your priority date (which time period will depend on the country you are from) you have to file your Form I-485. The processing time for your Form I-485 is also around 6 months, depending on your service center.

EB1C Green Card Processing Time 2022

The EB-1C is also an extraordinary ability immigrant visa aimed at proficient and skilled foreign executives and managers. You can get an EB-1C green card by either filling out an Adjustment of Status application from an L-1A visa while you are in the U.S, or you can apply from outside the U.S.

The processing time for your EB-1C green card will also depend on the service center where your application is processed. As explained above, your I-140 petition can sometimes take up to six months, unless you choose premium processing which brings this time down to 15 calendar days.

EB2 Green Card Processing Time 2022

The EB-2 green card is available for three categories of individuals:

On average, it takes about 6 months to process your Form I-140. If you have to go through PERM Labor Certification, it can even take up to 8 months to 2 years.

You can expedite your Form I-140 processing through premium processing. For a fee of $1,225, your processing time will come down from 6 months to 15 calendar days.

After receiving your approved Form I-140, you’ll have to wait for your priority date to become current, after which you can submit your Form I-485. This step takes about another 6 months, but will also depend on your service center.

EB3 Green Card Processing Time 2022

EB-3 is also an employment-based preference green card. This green card is the third preference. The EB-3 is for an individual who either has a bachelor’s degree, is a skilled worker with at least two years of experience in the relevant field, or is an unskilled worker.

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It goes without mentioning that the green card process can be incredibly long depending on your type of eligibility and the country you are applying from. Yet, if you are planning to live your life in the United States, then a green card is your best solution to gaining permanent resident status.

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How We Can Help

Family-based green card processing times keep getting longer by the day. Things can even become more even more complicated if your petition is not filed properly. Any single mistake can be very costly as it can lead to delay or denial. This is why you need an experienced family-based green card attorney.

VisaNation Law Group’s highly experienced green card immigration attorneys will help you file your petition. With their experience and expertise in the field, they will help you avoid the common immigration pitfalls. Start by taking a look at our family immigration plans.

Family-Based Green Card Processing Time Frequently Asked Questions

How can I submit a service request if I think my case is taking too long?

The first step would be to consult your immigration attorney to gauge whether your case is taking longer than it normally should. If your case is considered outside of normal processing times (longer than the time it takes to complete 93% of cases or beyond 130% of the cycle time), USCIS will provide you a link to submit an inquiry.

What affects the length of processing time?

A number of factors include:

What is the I-130 processing time for brother and sister in 2023?

Since brothers and sisters are not considered immediate relatives (they are in the F4 category), they have to wait for a permanent resident card to become available. It has an annual cap of 65,000 and hundreds of thousands of people apply. Wait time can be anywhere from 2-5 years or longer. They have to wait for the priority date and visa bulletin date to become current.

What is the I-130 processing time for parents in 2023?

The median I-130 processing time for immediate relatives (spouse of a U.S. citizen; unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen; or parent of a U.S. citizen (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age or older) averages 10.2 months. USCIS is taking steps with increased technologies and staffing to speed up processing times.

What is the green card waiting time for India?

Check the latest Visa Bulletin to see current times for India. Check which category you fall into F-1, F-2A, F-2B, F-3 or F-4. The Dates for Filing chart determines when an applicant can file an I-485, Adjustment of Status. If a particular immigrant visa category is “current” on the Final Action Dates chart or the cutoff date on the Final Action Dates chart is later than the date on the Dates for Filing chart, applicants in that immigrant visa category may file using the Final Action Dates chart during that month.

It’s a hard task to keep track of the final action dates for your family members and know which forms to submit. Let us make the process easy for you. Create your account today!

I am a U.S. citizen petitioning for my parents. How long does it take in 2023?

The I-130 average processing time is 6 to 12 months for immediate relatives. If your parents are already in the U.S. you can file Form I-485 at the same time.

I am a U.S. citizen petitioning for a brother or sister. How long does it take in 2023?

If they are within the U.S., you’ll need to file Form I-130, wait for a visa to become available and then file Form I-485. Wait times are typically years. Consult with your immigration attorney about possible alternative options to help them immigrate to the U.S.

How Long Does the Procedure Take to Get a Green Card?

Family-based immigration visas are the types of visas that allow the family members of Lawful Permanent Residents also known as LPRs or U.S. citizens to apply for immigration in the U.S. Family members inclusive of the spouse, children, parents, and siblings. Also, know that other relatives cannot apply for family-based visas.

Basically, there are different family-based visas and others have yearly caps. Yearly caps mean that for a particular visa, there should only a number of selected people each year who are allowed to get it. So, after the yearly cap is reached, those people who have applied on that same year but did not get processed must wait until the next period allowed. It should be in the know that visas are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

So, if one of the family-based visas is given to only 1,000 people, and if it happens and you apply as the 1,001st person, you will be processed the next year. Still applicable even further, like if you are the 2001st person to apply, you will be processed after two years and it means that processing times can be long and extend for years.

The Two Sub-categories Family-Based Immigrant Visas

Green Card – Information on the U.S Permanent Residence

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas this don’t have a yearly limit or what they call cap, so when you apply, you will be processed shortly within a few months and includes:

With the IR-1 visa which is also known as a marriage green card, the processing time is also much shorter than that of the Family Preference Visas. It only takes from 8 to 10 months to get a green card through marriage.

Family Preference visas

Family Preference Immigrant Visas have yearly limits or caps, which simply means that processing time might run from 1 year to in some rare cases, it takes 10 years long. The date when an applicant’s petition will be reviewed is called a priority date and is posted by the U.S State Department and they as well decide on when a certain category is processed. Here are the annual cap for the family preference visas inclusions:

Employment-based green cards are given to people from other countries by U.S employers. The employers basically sponsor the foreign employees for the Green Cards if in case they cannot find a U.S citizen who is qualified, available, and willing to work there.

Just like the family-based visas that have yearly caps, the employment-based visa applications are processed on a first-come-first-serve basis.

If you want to make the processing time shorter, you must ensure that all your documents are ready and error-free during the application. Mistakes in any form in your document or when you miss a document, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will request the documents from you, which will extend the processing time even longer.

Returning Resident Immigrant Visa

A returning resident visa is needed if because of the reasons the inevitable situation or those were beyond your control, you could not return to the U.S. within one year of leaving for travel. You must first prove to USCIS that you intended to return to the U.S but for that certain reasons that is why you need a returning resident visa to get your Green Card back.

After the hectic application process, you will have to undergo a visa interview once again. The U.S Embassy’s consular officer where you are applying will be the one to inform you whether you got the returning resident visa or not.

For this visa, there is no processing time. You will be immediately notified whether you got your Green Card back. If you were denied the visa, then you have to apply for the immigrant visa again, either a family-based or an employment-based one.

Diversity Visa

The Diversity Visa is the type of visa that allows people from other countries with low rates of immigration to apply for the lottery to get a Green Card. The applications are usually catered in the month of October or November, and then, the applicants must wait for them to be processed.

If you are lucky enough to be one of the selected people, you must go through the meticulous procedure of applying for the Diversity U.S.A. Visa. You need to comply and complete the forms and the necessary papers and then submit supporting documents alongside, which might take a few months in the process. Right then, you need to patiently wait for the U.S Embassy in your home country to process your request for U.S.A visa and make a  wise and guided decision.

Types of Family-Based Green Cards

The family-based green card category is broadly grouped into two, namely the immediate relative category and the family preference category. Green card applications for each of these two groups are treated differently. The relationship between the visa petitioner and the beneficiary will determine the steps and processing time of the application.

Immediate Relative Immigrant (IR) Visas

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Family Preference Immigrant Visas

This is meant for certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Unlike the immediate relative subcategory, family preference green cards have a numerical limitation, and only a specified number can be issued each year.

Once the number has been reached for a particular fiscal year, other applicants will need to wait in visa line. The wait time can be for several months or years, depending on the visa backlogs in their category. Family preference green cards are:

Family First Preference (F1): This is for unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children. 23,400 visas are issued annually to applicants in this category.

Family Second Preference (F2): This is for spouses, minor children, and unmarried sons and daughters (21 years and above) of lawful permanent residents. 114,200 visas are issued annually and up to 77% of the family-based green cards for the category usually go to the spouses and children. The remainder in the subcategory will be allocated to unmarried sons and daughters.

Family Third Preference (F3): This category is for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens as well as their spouses and minor children. The annual limit is 23,400.

Family Fourth Preference (F4): This is for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and their spouses and minor children. The U.S. citizen (petitioner) must be 21 years and above. This category has an annual limit of 65,000 visas.

Not sure which preference category applies to you or your family members? We can help you with the entire process, from start to finish. Start today!

Green Card – Information on the U.S Permanent Residence

Not married to your partner yet? Consider the K-1 Fiance Visa

With the K-1 fiancé(e) visa you have 90 days from the time the foreign partner comes to the U.S. to get married. Note that a K-1 visa holder upon arriving in the U.S. is not allowed to leave and re-enter on the same visa

Required Documentation for Family-Based Green Card

You may be asked to submit other documents depending on your case or the embassy in charge of your visa. Make sure that you visit the website of the embassy to be sure.

Family-Based Green Card to Citizenship Filing Fees

The good thing about naturalization processing fees is that you may get a fee waiver or reduction in case you can’t afford the fees. Of course, as in most circumstances, you must meet certain eligibility criteria for a fee reduction or waiver. Also, if you are over the age of 74, you will not need to pay for a biometric fee, reducing the total cost to $640.

What is a Green Card?

The Green Card USA is basically a document that allows you to move permanently to the U.S and stay there. It will allow you to find jobs to work and earn money, you can move to any state in the U.S, as well as settling down with your family.

The situation for immigrant U.S visas and Green Cards is different, whereas the U.S non-immigrant visas are processed when you apply. Many immigrant U.S visas have a limit on the number of visas issued each year. For instance, the F visa category for families has a limit on the yearly number of visas given to people.

The yearly limits mean that those who apply before it is reached will get processed. Your visa will be processed next year if you apply for the U.S visa once the limit has been reached. Because there is such a high demand for some types of Green Cards and immigrant U.S visas, you might have to wait for a very long time for the petition or the case to be processed. The waiting period can go up to 5 or 10 years, for some U.S Green Cards. So, if you are planning to apply for a particular Green Card, you must check with the U.S institutions or this article for how long does it take to get a Green Card and apply as soon as possible.

What are the Green Card Requirements?

There are various requirements that you must need to attain, for whichever USA Green Card you choose to apply. Each immigrant with a U.S visa has its own specific set of conditions that you must fulfill, but there are also a few that you must have for each U.S visa, as detailed below.

How to Apply for a Green Card?

There’s a restricted period within which you can remain outside the U.S if you are a green cardholder. The standard period you can travel abroad is limited to one year. Though the duration of this period depends a lot on whether you intend to become a naturalized citizen or not.

Under other conditions, whether you can enter other countries visa-free or not, it all depends on your nationality and the visa policy between your home country and destination country. For instance. if you are planning to visit the Schengen countries in Europe, your nationality will determine whether you will have to apply for a Schengen Visa from the US or not.

Fastest Way to Bring Siblings to the USA

The most effective way to bring a sibling to the United States is in the steps we mentioned above:

Immigration Attorney Fee

Though optional, you will need to factor it in if you are going to engage the service of an expert to make your application process hitch-free and improve your chances of green card approval. Attorney fees vary widely among immigration lawyers.

Keep in mind that the cheapest option isn’t always the best one. You will need to compare what each attorney proposes to offer in their green card application service. You may be charged a flat rate for the preparation of various documents involved in your I-130 petition

If you want further services after the approval of the I-130 form, you can discuss the fees for other steps, such as I-485, I-131 and I-756 forms.

Family-Based Green Card Eligibility Criteria for Foreign Nationals

As a foreign national family-based green card applicant, you must also prove that you have a qualifying family relationship with your sponsor and that you will not become a public charge upon arriving in the U.S. This means your sponsor can support you financially until you can support yourself.

How Should I Make These Payments?

The USCIS gives as to how filing fees should be paid. While a few application form fees can be paid online (the I-131A form, for example), most must be paid through the mail or in person.

The USCIS accepts cashier’s checks, personal checks, money orders, and bank drafts. Each fee must be paid in a separate payment, so avoid adding the fees together into one large payment sum

If you decide to pay in person at a U.S. field office, you will be able to pay with a credit card.

Because the payment requirements associated with some forms depend on your country of citizenship, you can visit this website to get a better understanding of how these payments should be made.

Annual Visa Cap and Priority Date for Family-Based Green Cards

All family preference green card petitions are subject to numerical limitation. And in most cases, the number of qualified applicants is higher than the available immigrant visas for each of the categories. In this case, the available visas are issued in chronological order in which the petitions were submitted.

To ensure a level playing ground for all applicants, the National Visa Center (NVC) considers different factors, such as each category’s annual cap, filing date, and country of origin when adjudicating green card applications. This is all determined by something called your “priority date.”

Your green card priority date is the date that the USCIS receives your I-130 petition. It can be described as your place in the green card waiting line and will need to be considered current before you can continue your green card processing. Your priority date can be found on the Notice of Action (I-797) approval of I-130 that was mailed to you by the USCIS.

Your priority date becomes “current” when your priority date matches or passes the “final action date” posted in the most recent visa bulletin by the Department of State.

Note: Priority dates are not relevant for immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens (e.g., spouses or minor children) as that category is always current.

Can You Shorten Your Waiting Time?

The sponsoring family member can also expedite the process by filing both the I-130 and the I-485 adjustment of status application at the same time, as long as the beneficiary is in the U.S. The other way to take some time off of the overall processing period is to opt for premium processing for the forms that allow it (I-129 and I-140). The cost for premium processing is $2,500.

Green Card – Information on the U.S Permanent Residence

Family-Based Green Card Wait Times

The processing times vary significantly among the subcategories, sometimes ranging between one and more than ten years. For instance, F2A applicants (spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents), usually enjoy the shortest processing times. This is because a higher priority is given to them, coupled with the fact that the subcategory has the largest annual quota among family-based green card preferences.

Status Adjustment Application for Applicants In the U.

If you are in the United States, you will need to petition the USCIS for an adjustment from your current non-immigrant status to an immigrant permanent resident status the moment a visa number becomes available to you. You will need to file the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to adjust your status and receive your green card.

On average, the I-130 filed by your sponsor takes between 6 to 12 months to be processed. The USCIS processes the petition on a first-come, first-served basis. Your sponsor can expedite the process by submitting the form as early as possible. Also, the form must be properly filed with all the required documents attached.

For any missing documents, there will be a Request for Evidence (RFE) notification from the USCIS. This will lead to a delay and longer processing time, as your application process will be placed on hold until the documents are submitted.

Immigrant Visa Application for Applicants Outside the U.

If you are outside the U.S. and there is an immigrant visa number available for you (meaning your priority date is current), you will need to visit the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country to continue the family-based green card processing. You will get your visa number and schedule an appointment for your immigration interview.

You will also need to complete a biometric screening, medical examination, and submit the necessary documentation. To do this, you will need to complete a DS 260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and bring the confirmation page to the interview.

Fast and Reliable Service to Get Your Family Green Card Sooner

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