How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Marriage Green Card?

26 June 2023

While the process of acquiring a marriage-based green card can seem daunting, understanding the timeline involved can help couples plan their future more effectively. Typically, a marriage green card can take anywhere between 12 and 24 months. In this blog post, we will explore the factors influencing the processing time and provide an overview of how long it typically takes to obtain a marriage green card.

Filing the Petition

The first step in the journey towards a marriage green card is to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The sponsoring spouse, who must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), submits Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The processing time for this petition can vary but generally takes several months.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

After the priority date becomes current, couples have two options to proceed: adjustment of status or consular processing. Adjustment of status is available to individuals who are already in the United States. While consular processing is applicable to those outside the country.

  • Adjustment of Status: If the couple chooses adjustment of status, the foreign spouse can apply for a marriage-based green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust Status. Typically, this process takes around 9-12 months, but the timeline can vary based on the workload of USCIS and other factors.
  • Consular Processing: For couples who opt for consular processing, the foreign spouse will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The processing time for consular processing varies depending on the specific embassy or consulate, but it typically takes around 8-12 months.

Biometrics, Interview, and Medical Examination

Certain steps are common to both paths. Regardless of whether adjustment of status or consular processing is chosen. These include biometrics (fingerprinting), interviews, and medical examinations. There are a few crucial additional processes. One of these is the assessment of the foreign spouse’s eligibility. Secondly, the fulfillment of all requirements before granting the marriage green card.

Obtaining a marriage green card can be a significant milestone for couples seeking to build a life in the US. The exact timeline can vary due to individual circumstances and the workload of immigration authorities. Generally, it is advisable to expect the process to take anywhere from 9 months to over a year. Patience, organization, and thorough preparation are key during this period. Seeking professional advice is also key to navigating the complexities of immigration law.

Remember, the timeline provided here is a general guideline. This post specifically applies to U.S. Citizens filing for their immediate relative spouse. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident seeking to apply for your immediate relative spouse, please contact us for more information. Remember, it is essential to consult with an immigration attorney for submitting the application. Or, you can seek reliable information from official government sources to get the most accurate and up-to-date information. With the right information and proper guidance, you can navigate the process smoothly. Finally, here at Midwest Law, we would love to help you embark on your new journey as a married couple in the United States.


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