Since the earliest days of United States history, people from around the globe have flocked to this country in search of a better life for themselves and their families.
One of the crucial steps in this journey is obtaining a Permanent Resident Card, commonly called a ‘green card’. This document allows individuals to legally live and work permanently in the United States. However, the process can be complex and time-consuming.
There is no easy answer to how long it takes to get a green card. There are several steps involved in the process, each with their own estimated timelines:
- You or a sponsor must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which can take six months to one year for approval.
- After the petition is approved, it is then sent to the National Visa Center (NSV). They are in charge of issuing a visa number. The timeline here varies significantly depending on the type of green card. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens have little to no wait time. Other categories may need to wait several years before receiving a number.
- Once you have received your visa number, you can apply for a green card through consular processing if you are outside the U.S. If you are already in the country, you can request an adjustment of status. This process can take six months to one year.
Therefore, receiving a green card can take one to several years.
Various factors influence how long it takes to get a green card, such as:
- The type of green card
- Country of origin
- USCIS workload
- Accuracy of the application
Working with someone who can assist you with the application and oversee the process provides the best chance for a positive outcome.