When an immigrant marries a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., they are given a marriage green card which enables them to live and work in the country. Without taking into account any additional circumstances that can slow the process down, getting a marriage green card could take between 10 and 38 months.

The residence of the spouse of an American citizen and the spouse’s citizenship status are taken into account when determining the application procedure timeline. The time it takes to complete the marriage green card is further divided into four scenarios by these two elements. The details of each of these scenarios are provided below.

Immigrants Living in the U.S. While Married to U.S. Citizens

A green card under this category can take 10 to 13 months to obtain. Filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is the first stage in the procedure. The sponsoring spouse, a U.S. citizen, completes the first form, while the immigrant spouse completes the second.

The two forms can be sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) simultaneously. This cuts down on the amount of time required to process a marriage-based green card.

Along with Form I-130, the U.S. citizen spouse must submit the following supporting documents:

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship
  • A document attesting to the legality of the marriage, such as a marriage certificate
  • Evidence that the marriage is sincere and not just for the purpose of getting a green card
  • Identification documentation for the beneficiary
  • An affidavit of support to demonstrate that the sponsoring spouse can support the green card candidate financially

The processing time for this application with the USCIS can potentially be 5 to 12 months.

After arriving in the country on a nonimmigrant visa and applying for permanent residency, the applicant must provide the following supporting paperwork to the USCIS together with Form I-485:

  • A birth certificate serving as proof of identity and nationality
  • Identity card issued by the government
  • A passport-size photograph

Immigrants Living Outside the U.S. While Married to U.S. Citizens

For a person currently residing overseas, it could take 11 to 17 months to get a green card. The sponsor submits Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the USCIS; the processing time ranges from five months to two years.

USCIS will forward the application to the beneficiary’s country’s embassy or consulate when it has been approved. Within four to six weeks of receiving the notification, the consulate will then summon the beneficiary—who is also regarded as the sponsoring spouse’s direct relative—for a visa interview. They will be qualified for an immigrant visa to enter the United States if they succeed in the interview.

Green Card Holders With an Immigrant Spouse Residing in the U.S.

permanent residency card on U.S. flagAn immigrant spouse who is married to a person who has a green card in the United States must wait between 29 months and three years for their green card to be processed. In addition to the Supplemental Information Form I-130A, the sponsoring spouse must also submit Form I-130.

The latter offers more details regarding the spouse who will receive the marriage-based green card. The beneficiary’s status will then be changed so that they can apply for a green card by submitting Form I-485. This form cannot be submitted until the U.S. Department of State certifies that a green card quota is open.

An Immigrant Spouse of a Green Card Holder Residing Outside the U.S.

The processing time for a marriage-based green card in this category ranges from 23 to 32 months. The sponsor who is requesting for the beneficiary to be granted permanent residence status files Form I-130 and waits for the USCIS to approve it.

If accepted, the USCIS will subsequently deliver the petition to the beneficiary’s nation’s embassy or consulate. The alien spouse will enter the United States with permanent resident status following a positive interview.

Common Causes of Green Card Delays Involving Marriage

Due to a number of variables, applying for a green card through marriage could take longer than anticipated. Some of these causes can be beyond the applicant’s control, while others are brought on by the regulatory requirements placed on the process. Some of the most common causes of delays are as follows:

  • Failure to respond to request for evidence on time
  • A backlog in green card applications
  • Travel bans
  • New immigration policies

How Does It Take to Process Permanent Resident Cards?

usa flag behind permanent residency card and visaEach of the aforementioned categories includes a green card schedule, which could change or lengthen depending on a number of factors. The USCIS has set up a Processing Times tool on its website in response to the large number of calls they get from anxious petitioners.

The processing times for a green card obtained through marriage, as well as other forms of petitions, are roughly estimated using this calculator.

Simply input the form’s name, choose the field office or service center where it was filed, then click “Get Processing Time” to find out how long the green card application procedure will likely take. The anticipated processing time for the particular form you chose will be displayed.

If the USCIS hasn’t contacted you yet, you can ask about your case as of the date listed under “Receipt Date For Case Inquiry.” The query can be made either online or by calling the USCIS contact center.

Pride Immigration

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our highly trained and trusted professional staff at Pride Immigration for further details and information regarding how long it takes to receive a marriage green card and what your options may be for obtaining one.

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Beeraj Patel, Esq.

Partner at KPPB Law
Beeraj Patel's philosophy is simple - make it easy for talented and ambitious individuals to have access to immigration materials so that they can make the choice which is right for them.
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