Understanding the Processing Times for Marriage Green Cards by USCIS


When it comes to applying for marriage green cards, the timeline for processing can vary significantly based on several factors, including the petitioner's citizenship status and the USCIS service center handling the application.

Detailed Processing Times for Form I-130

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operates five service centers that currently handle the Form I-130, which is a critical initial step in the marriage-based green card application process. For U.S. citizens petitioning for a spouse, the processing times for Form I-130 can range from 13 to 54.5 months. In contrast, legal permanent residents who are filing the same form for their spouse might face longer processing times ranging from 32 to 67.5 months.

As of right now, there have been no significant changes to the average processing time of 14 months for Form I-130 at any of the USCIS service centers, which are located in California, Nebraska, Potomac, Texas, and Vermont.

Processing of Form I-485

Once Form I-130 is filed, the spouse living in the U.S. needs to file Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status. The average processing time for Form I-485 across all 89 field offices is approximately 20 months.

Concurrent Filing for Spouses

If you are either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident living with your spouse in the U.S., you have the option to file Form I-130 and Form I-485 concurrently. This means submitting both forms together as part of the same application package, potentially streamlining the process.

Processing Times for Marriage Green Cards by USCIS

Form I-130 Processing Times for Lawful Permanent Residents

When a lawful permanent resident files Form I-130 for a spouse, the processing times vary significantly across different USCIS service centers:

  1. California Service Center: Approximately 38.5 months.
  2. Nebraska Service Center: About 29 months.
  3. Potomac Service Center: Around 32.5 months.
  4. Texas Service Center: Typically 37 months.
  5. Vermont Service Center: Generally 34.5 months.

Overall, processing times for all field offices average about 70.5 months, indicating substantial waiting periods depending on the center handling the application.

Form I-485 Processing Times Across Various USCIS Field Offices

For those adjusting status within the United States through Form I-485, processing times also vary by location:

  1. Locations like Buffalo NY and Burlington VT have some of the shortest processing times at around 12 months.
  2. In contrast, offices like New Orleans LA and Minneapolis-St. Paul MN report longer times, up to approximately 25.5 months.
  3. Offices in major cities like New York City, Miami FL, and Los Angeles CA typically see times ranging from 18 to 23.5 months.
  4. The Salt Lake City UT field office experiences one of the longest wait times at about 34.5 months.

This variability highlights the importance of checking specific field office times, as they can significantly impact the overall timeline for receiving a marriage-based green card.

Historical and Current Processing Times for Form I-485 and Form I-765

Historical Trends for Form I-485 Processing

Over the past five years, the processing times for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, have shown relative consistency. Here is a brief overview of the average median processing times from fiscal years 2018 to 2022:

  • FY 2018: Approximately 10.6 months.
  • FY 2019: Around 10 months.
  • FY 2020: Slightly shorter at 8.8 months.
  • FY 2021: Increased slightly to 9.9 months.
  • FY 2022: Rose to 11 months.

These figures illustrate that while there have been fluctuations, the overall timeline for processing adjustment of status applications has remained within a 10-month average over recent years.

Form I-765 Processing Times for Employment Authorization

When filing Form I-485 for adjustment of status, applicants often concurrently file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to obtain a work permit. This allows applicants to work in the U.S. while their permanent residency application is being processed.

Historical Processing Times

Prior to 2022, the wait time for receiving a work permit after filing was typically between 4 and 6 months.

Current Processing Times

Recent times have seen an increase, now ranging from 4.5 to 14 months depending on the USCIS Service Center processing the application. Here are some specifics:

  1. California Service Center: Processing time is currently about 5.5 months.
  2. National Benefits Center: Approximately 8 months.
  3. Nebraska Service Center: The shortest at 3.5 months.
  4. Texas Service Center: One of the longest at 11 months.
  5. Vermont Service Center: About 10 months.

These times reflect the current state as of the latest update and have remained stable with no recent changes reported.

Applicants for marriage-based green cards and associated work permits should anticipate variability in processing times based on historical trends and the specific USCIS service center handling their case. Understanding these timelines is crucial for planning purposes, especially for those seeking employment authorization while their adjustment of status is pending. It’s advisable for applicants to regularly check for the most recent updates directly from USCIS to stay informed about any changes or delays in processing times.

Understanding Trends in Work Authorization Application Processing Times (Form I-765) and Marriage Green Card Timelines

Trends in Processing Times for Form I-765

Over the past five years, the processing times for Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization (commonly known as a work permit), have seen a notable increase. Here's a look at the progression from FY 2018 through FY 2022:

  • FY 2018: The processing time was notably quick, averaging just 0.9 months.
  • FY 2019: Increased slightly to an average of 2 months.
  • FY 2020: Further increased to 2.5 months.
  • FY 2021: Rose to 3.2 months.
  • FY 2022: Saw a significant jump to 9.2 months, marking the longest waiting period in the past five years.

The average median processing time across these five years for Form I-765 was approximately 3.6 months, although fluctuations ranged from less than one month to over nine months, with the most extended periods occurring most recently in 2022.

Overall Timeline for Marriage Green Card Applications

The process of obtaining a marriage green card can vary widely, typically taking between 10 to 38 months to complete. This timeline is influenced by several factors:

  1. Processing Delays: Backlogs, often exacerbated by global events such as the pandemic, have significantly impacted processing times.
  2. Operational Issues: Staffing shortages or budget constraints at USCIS service centers and field offices can also delay proceedings.
  3. Application Components: The timeline includes several key steps:
  • Submission of forms and supporting documents.
  • Medical examinations.
  • Biometrics appointments.
  • The green card interview.

Monitoring Your Application Status

For those in the process of obtaining a marriage green card, staying informed about your application status is crucial. You can check the status online through the USCIS website using the receipt number provided on your application receipt notice. This enables applicants to track their case through each stage of the process and anticipate any necessary actions or preparations.

Applicants should prepare for a potentially lengthy process when applying for a marriage green card and work authorization. By understanding historical processing times and staying proactive in monitoring their application status, applicants can better navigate delays and ensure compliance with all procedural requirements. Keeping informed and prepared is essential for effectively managing the journey toward U.S. residency.

Last Updated 06/07/24 10:09:53AM

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