How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card? – All Wait Times

A young woman with dark long hair is discussing Green Card processing times in an office; the Statue of Liberty at sunset.

The procedure to get a Green Card from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can have wildly different processing times, depending on the kind of request. In most cases, there is a yearly cap on the release of Green Cards, so you might need to wait a while before getting your permanent resident status.

If you are wondering “How long does it take to get a Green Card?”, keep reading this article. We will go through all the information you need, going into the details of Green Card processing times based on the specifics of your request.

In this article:

How long does it take to get a Green Card through marriage?

Currently, the wait time for a marriage-based Green Card is between 9 (nine) and 46 (forty-six) months. This is one of the cases in which there is no yearly limit to the number of documents, however, there are two different factors that affect how long it takes to get a Green Card through marriage. Namely, the spouse’s citizenship status and the applicant’s country of residence.

If the applicant is married to a U.S. citizen and resides in the United States, the total wait time will be between 9 (nine) and 13 (thirteen) months. If they live abroad, the process will take from 10 (ten) to 15 (fifteen) months.

In case the applicant resides in the U.S. and is married to a Green Card holder, the application process will take from 22 (twenty-two) to 36 (thirty-six) months. For any other country of residence, the total wait time will be between 27 (twenty-seven) and 46 (forty-six) months.

Keep in mind that, at times, certain offices experience delays that cause longer than average processing times. However, the listed timelines reflect how long it takes to get a Green Card through marriage in most cases.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through family?

People who have U.S. citizenship or, in some cases, permanent resident status, can sponsor their family members to get a Green Card. This procedure will be possible only for the immediate family, such as parents, children, siblings, and spouses. Since there could be a yearly cap, depending on the relationship between the applicant and the sponsor, the processing time for a family-based Green Card can vary significantly.

In the next paragraphs, we will examine how long it takes to get a Green Card through family in each case.

How long does it take to get a Green Card for parents?

Getting a Green Card for a parent of a U.S. citizen 21 or older only takes around 10 (ten) to 13 (thirteen) months. There is no limit to the yearly number of documents issued, so, the time it takes to get a Green Card for the parents of a citizen is generally quite consistent.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through a sibling?

Family-based Green Cards for siblings take the longest time in this category. There is a yearly limit of 65.000 documents. For this reason, the entire process can take from 10 (ten) to 16 (sixteen) years. However, the processing time can change depending on the country of origin of the applicant. Indian citizens usually have to wait more than 16 (sixteen) years, Mexican citizens generally more than 20 (twenty), and citizens of the Philippines often wait more than 24 (twenty-four) years.

How long does it take to get a Green Card for your child?

To get a Green Card for a child under 21 (twenty-one), you have to wait between 10 (ten) and 38 (thirty-eight) months. For minor children, there is no yearly cap on immigrant visas. The processing time, however, changes depending on the citizenship status of the parents.

If the minor’s parents have United States citizenship, the Green Card process takes between 10 (ten) and 13 (thirteen) months from the application date.

If the parents are Green Card holders, the USCIS will process the permanent resident card in 23 (twenty-three) to 38 (thirty-eight) months. However, family-based immigrant visas for children can take longer depending on the nationality of the parents.

For unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, the Green Card application process can take from 7 (seven) to 9 (nine) years in total. However, for Philippine citizens, it can take more than 10 (ten) years, and for Mexican citizens, the waiting time could be over 20 (twenty) years.

For married adult children of U.S. citizens, the total wait time is generally around 13 (thirteen) or 14 (fourteen) years.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through employment?

There are three different kinds of employment-based Green Cards, with different waiting times:

  • EB-1, first preference for priority workers;
  • EB-2, second preference for advanced degrees;
  • EB-3, third preference for skilled workers and professionals.

The EB-1 visa application process will take around 14 (fourteen) months, between the paperwork processing and the issuance of the permanent resident status.

For an EB-2, depending on which citizenship and immigration services facility handles the processing, it can take from 10 (ten) months to over 2 (two) years.

An EB-3 visa will be issued in 1 (one) to 3 (three) years, depending on the nature of the work and the office that is processing the Green Card application.


Green Card picture with Passport Photo Online

One of the key elements of a Green Card application is the picture. The USCIS has established very strict guidelines for this photo and, to make sure that the processing doesn’t get delayed, you need to follow them to the letter.

Luckily, thanks to Passport Photo Online, taking photos for your permanent residency application is pure child’s play.

Thanks to the built-in AI, you can take them wherever you want, in the open or at home. The image will be cropped to the required size and the background will be set to the right color. The app will also examine your picture and let you know if you followed all the specifications. This way, you will get 100% guarantee of compliance with the official parameters.

You can have the printouts delivered or download the file and print them at any print shop , completely up to you. Whatever you choose, you’ll be able to take perfect Green Card pictures at your convenience, saving up to 40% on the average prices.


How long does it take to get a Green Card: FAQ

To make sure all details are clear, we will address some recurring questions about the processing time of a Green Card immigrant visa.

How long does it take to get a Green Card in the mail?

After the processing is over, the permanent resident card will be shipped to you in 30 (thirty) to 90 (ninety) days.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through marriage to a U.S. citizen?

A marriage-based Green Card for the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen is processed in around 9 (nine) to 13 (thirteen) months.

How long does it take to get a Green Card through marriage to a permanent resident?

The application for marriage-based Green Cards for the spouses of permanent residents takes between 22 (twenty-two) to 36 (thirty-six) months in the U.S.

How long does it take to get a Green Card after the interview?

After the interview you will know if the request was accepted in 30 (thirty) days, after that, your Green Card should arrive in 2 (two) to (three) weeks.

How long does it take to get a Green Card after biometrics?

Biometrics are usually taken 6 (six) to 10 (ten) months before the delivery, however, the timeline can change significantly depending on the office.

How long does it take to get a Green Card – closing thoughts

The total Green Card processing time can change a lot depending on the specific case. Whether you are applying through a family member or as part of your employment, you might have to wait for one or several years after you hand in the correct paperwork. If you run into any problems, you should contact a specialized immigration lawyer.

For perfect Green Card pictures, turn to Passport Photo Online, as over one million satisfied customers have done in the last years.

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