Family-Based Immigration- How long does it take?

One way for a foreign national to become a lawful permanent resident, and eventually a citizen, is through family-based immigration. US Citizens and lawful permanent residents may file a petition with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) known as a “Petition for Alien Relative” (I-130) for certain close relatives. Those include spouse, parent, son or daughter, or sibling.

How long does it take to get to the next step of applying for the visa or green card in family-based immigration?

If the I-130 is approved the length of time to apply for a visa depends on the status of the US relative (citizen or permanent resident). It also depends on their relationship to the intending immigrant and the country that they are coming from. If the petitioner is an adult US citizen, and the intended immigrant is an “immediate relative” (spouse, unmarried child under the age of 21, or parent) they may apply for an immigrant visa as soon as the I-130 is approved.

But, if the intending immigrant is not an “immediate relative” for purposes of immigration, they could have a long wait. That individual must wait for their “priority date” to become current. The priority date is the date upon which the I-130 is filed with USCIS. Each month, the Department of State publishes a Visa Bulletin, indicating the priority dates for applications being accepted that month. In order to be eligible to apply for the visa based on an approved I-130, the priority date must be on or before the date published in the Visa Bulletin.

As an example, in the February 2018 Visa Bulletin, a citizen of the Philippines who has an approved petition that was filed by his US Citizen brother on or before March 1, 1995 is currently eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. That’s a wait of nearly 23 years.

If you are interested in filing a family-based immigration petition for a relative, or in exploring immigration options for yourself, contact the The Mazza Law Group to schedule a consultation with an Immigration Lawyer to review the options available and the time frames involved.

Family-Based Immigration- How long does it take? was last modified: February 2nd, 2018 by Helen Stolinas