How long does a petition for alien relative take in the United States?

Through different legal pathways, accessing to a better future in the United States is possible, especially for family members of U.S. citizens or legal residents.

The Family Immigration Petition makes family reunification possible, and, therefore, understanding what the process entails and how long a family-based immigration petition takes in the United States is key information for any individual interested in immigrating. In Jaskot Law we are committed to provide you with all the information about it.

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    how long does a family petition take
    A family-based immigration petition is a possibility offered by the U.S. immigration system to keep families together.

    What is a petition for alien relative?

    The Petition for Alien Relative is a possible pathway offered by the U.S. immigration law whereby a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may petition for a family member to obtain legal status in the United States.

    This process is initiated by filing the Form I-130, which has different categories of relationship that qualify a family member for permanent residency through a family-based petition.

    Who is eligible for a family-based petition?

    By submitting a family-based petition, the petitioner is establishing his or her legitimate relationship with the beneficiary, who must be eligible under the following criteria:

    • First preference: Unmarried sons/daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.
    • Second preference: Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age and unmarried sons/daughters over 21 years of age.
    • Third preference: Married sons/daughters.
    • Fourth preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.

    What happens after obtaining the petition for alien relative?

    Once the Petition for Alien Relative is approved, the applicant receives a notice of approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon approval of the application, the applicant may proceed to apply for the Adjust of Status or Consular Processing to become a lawful permanent resident.

    It is necessary to clarify that the approval of your Family-based Petition through Form I-130 only ratifies the family relationship between the U.S. citizen and the petitioner. This form provides a place on the waiting list for the processing of the corresponding visa, but does not grant benefits.

    how long does a family petition take
    The Form I-130 only ratifies the family relationship between the U.S. citizen and the petitioner.

    Adjustment of Status

    If the petitioning relative is in the United States, the beneficiary may apply for Adjustment of Status to become a lawful permanent resident. The applicant will be able to obtain a green card, through the presentation of the Form I-485 (Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status).

    Consular Processing

    If the applicant is not in the United States, the form will be sent to the National Visa Center, or NVC. This center will forward your request to the appropriate consulate, and you will be informed when a visa becomes available.

    How to follow up on my case?

    Once the application is filed, the family preference category to which the applicant belongs to will determine the waiting time required to receive an immigrant visa number. The follow-up of your application can be done through the official USCIS website in the Case Status section. Here, you will need to enter your 13-character receipt ID number and press the Check Status button to access updated information.

    Visa Bulletin

    Another way to keep up-to-date with the immigrant visa availability for foreign applicants is the Visa Bulletin, which is a monthly publication from the U.S. Department of State that provides status information, what visa categories are available, and how many visas are allocated to each category and country.

    How long does permanent residence by family-based petition take?

    As mentioned above, the duration of the family petition process in the United States varies depending on factors such as the relationship to the sponsor, the nationality of the applicant and the availability of visas. However, as an estimate, we can highlight the following categories:

    • For spouses of U.S. citizens: 13 to 54 months.
    • For spouses of permanent residents: from 32 to 67 months.
    • Form I-458 processing: 20 months.

    The following are the processing times for Form I-130 for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents petitioning for a spouse:

    Service centersU.S. CitizensLegal permanent residents
    California Service Center14 months38.5 months
    Nebraska Service Center14 months29 months
    Texas Service Center14 months32.5 months
    Potomac Service Center14 months37 months
    Vermont Service Center14 months34.5 months

    These are the processing times for Form I-485 at USCIS offices:

    Agana GU17 monthsManchester NH13.5 months
    Albany NY20 monthsMemphis TN22 months
    Albuquerque NM14.5 monthsMiami FL23.5 months
    Anchorage AK16.5 monthsMilwaukee WI14 months
    Atlanta GA23 monthsMinneapolis-St. Paul Paul MN 23.5 months
    Baltimore MD24 monthsMontgomery A15 months
    Boise ID18 monthsMount Laurel NJ14 months
    Boston MA15 monthsNashville TN20 months
    Brooklyn NY23 monthsNew Orleans LA25.5 months
    Buffalo NY12 monthsNew York City NY18 months
    Burlington VT12 monthsNewark NJ17.5 months
    Charleston SC20.5 monthsNorfolk VA21 months
    Charlotte Amalie VI17.5 monthsOakland Park FL16.5 months
    Charlotte NC18.5 monthsOklahoma City OK16 months
    Chicago IL17.5 monthsOmaha NE19.5 months
    Christiansted VI17 monthsOrlando FL18 months
    Cincinnati OH14.5 monthsPhiladelphia PA15 months
    Cleveland OH13.5 monthsPhoenix AZ14.5 months
    Columbus OH13.5 monthsPittsburgh PA14.5 months
    Dallas TX15 monthsPortland ME13.5 months
    Denver CO18.5 monthsPortland OR17 months
    Des Moines IA17 monthsProvidence RI16.5 months
    Detroit MI14.5 monthsQueens NY21 months
    El Paso TX14 monthsRaleigh NC21 months
    Fort Myers FL18.5 monthsReno NV15 months
    Fort Smith AR13.5 monthsSacramento CA19 months
    Fresno CA16 monthsSaint Louis MO14.5 months
    Greer SC13.5 monthsSalt Lake City UT34.5 months
    Harlingen TX18.5 monthsSan Antonio TX17 months
    Hartford CT15.5 monthsSan Bernardino CA15 months
    Helena MT17 monthsSan Diego CA18.5 months
    Hialeah FL15 monthsSan Fernando Valley CA13 months
    Honolulu HI15 monthsSan Francisco CA19 months
    Houston TX16.5 monthsSan Jose CA14 months
    Imperial CA12.5 monthsSan Juan PR17.5 months
    Indianapolis IN20 monthsSanta Ana CA17 months
    Jacksonville FL19 monthsSeattle WA18 months
    Kansas City MO20.5 monthsSpokane WA15.5 months
    Kendall FL19.5 monthsTampa FL15.5 months
    Las Vegas NV22 monthsTucson AZ13.5 months
    Lawrence MA14 monthsWashington DC19 months
    Long Island NY15 monthsWest Palm Beach FL16.5 months
    Los Angeles C A15.5 monthsWichita KS15 months
    Los Angeles County CA13 monthsYakima WA16.5 months
    Louisville KY14 months

    What are the possible grounds of inadmissibility for permanent residence by family petition?

    It is now necessary to remember that the family petition ratifies the relationship of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident to the petitioner, and that there are several grounds on which a family petition may be deemed inadmissible. Among the most common grounds for inadmissibility are the following:

    • Criminal record: having committed certain crimes may be ground for inadmissibility.
    • Health: suffering from diseases that represent a risk to public health, and not complying with vaccination requirements.
    • Status and fraud: having a prior deportation order and/or false documentation may be grounds for inadmissibility.
    • Security and terrorism: any involvement in terrorist activities that endanger national security are also grounds for inadmissibility.

    It is important to note that inadmissibility does not mean that the family petition is immediately denied. Exceptions and exemptions are available on a case-by-case basis.

    How can the Petition for Alien Relative process be accelerated?

    Shortening the process of the family-based immigration may be possible if certain proactive steps are taken, such as making sure that all necessary forms and documents are completed correctly and submitted in a timely manner. Errors or lack of information are often the cause of significant delays.

    In addition, it is essential to provide clear, convincing and legitimate evidence of the family relationship, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates or photographs, among others. Finally, enlisting the help of an immigration attorney can make all the difference in getting an application approved.

    how long does a family petition take
    An experienced immigration attorney is an ally in family-based petition cases, ensuring that no mistakes are made during the process.

    How can an immigration attorney help in the Petition for Alien Relative process?

    It is important to understand that the Petition for Alien Relative is a complex process and is known for its long waiting times. That is why having an experienced family petition attorney can be particularly valuable when dealing with complex cases that delve into issues such as current immigration status, criminal history, or the presence of inadmissibility barriers.

    A qualified attorney can guide you and help you avoid common mistakes that can result in significant delays or even denials. Jaskot Law’s committed attorneys can help you understand these issues and develop effective strategies to address them, thereby increasing your chances of success.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who is eligible for a family-based immigration petition?

    Eligibility for a petition for alien relative is determined by the relationship between the petitioner and the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Categories include unmarried children over 21, spouses and children under 21, married children, and siblings of U.S. citizens over 21.

    How can the Petition for Alien Relative process be accelerated?

    Streamlining the petition process can be achieved by taking certain precautions, such as ensuring that all forms and documents are completed correctly and submitted on time. In addition, it is crucial to provide clear and convincing evidence of the family relationship, and the assistance of an immigration attorney is advised for the successful approval of an application.

    How can I follow the progress of my petition for alien relative?

    The status of your family-based petition can be tracked on the official USCIS website under Case Status. You may also consult the Visa Bulletin for information on visa availability.