The REAL Timeline For A Marriage Green Card!

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The real timeline for a marriage green card depends on your specific situation! In this video we take a look at the marriage green card timeline for LPR green card holders and United States Citizens, as well as immigrants living inside the United States and outside the United States. I explain what you can expect when filing your I-130 and I-485, receiving a request for evidence from USCIS, filing a “two step petition,” getting your marriage green card interview scheduled, navigating the visa bulletin, dealing with the National Visa Center (NVC), and getting your immigrant visa, as well as all the timelines associated with each step!

  • 0:00 Timeline For A Marriage Green Card
  • 0:43 Filing Your I-1302:11 Marrying US Citizen In The US
  • 4:18 Marrying Green Card Holder In The US
  • 5:52 Marrying USC or LPR Outside The US

☎️ To book a case evaluation, call Moumita's office at (212) 248-7907 or visit her website HERE

☎️ Para agendar una evaluación de su caso, llame a la oficina de Moumita al (212) 248-7907 o visite su sitio web AQUI


The timeline for your marriage based green card depends on your specific situation. 

The biggest factors that determine what kind of a timeline you can expect are: 

  • Whether you are marrying a US Citizen or a green card holder, and 
  • Whether or not you are inside the US when applying. 

So let’s take a look at examples of the timeline you can expect for these different scenarios and the steps you need to take if you want your green card to be approved on time. 

And  if this is your first time on my channel, be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications for regular immigration news updates. And if you would like to get my help on your case, please call my office to schedule a case evaluation at (212) 248-7907.

Filing Your I-130

The first step in every marriage based green card case is to submit your I-130 to USCIS, which establishes your eligibility based on your marriage.

USCIS will then send you an official “receipt number” in the mail, usually within two weeks of receiving your application. You can use this number to track the progress of your case using the online tool “My USCIS”. 

If USCIS determines you are missing something or they need more information they will send you a Request for Evidence, typically within 2-3 months. This can slow down your case considerably, so be sure to include everything the officer needs from the start.

USCIS will then take between 9-to-11 Months to process your I-130.

Marrying A US Citizen Inside the US

At this point your timeline will vary depending on who you are marrying and where you are located.

If you are marrying a US Citizen and you are already inside the US,  you are in luck because these cases are often the fastest!

This is because you can file your I-485 green card application at the same time as your I-130 and they will be processed together during that 9-to-11 Month timeframe. 

About Four-to-Six Weeks after submitting your application to USCIS, you will receive a notice with the day and time of your biometrics appointment. This is where they take your fingerprints and photos used to process your application, and is typically scheduled at the USCIS field office closest to where you live. 

Once USCIS finishes processing your application, they will send you a notice with the time, date, and location of your marriage green card interview. Both you and your spouse must attend this interview,and it will typically take place within One-to-Two Months of your application being processed. 

However, because of the current backlogs this wait could be longer depending on where your interview takes place. 

Typically the officer will let you know if you are approved at your interview, and your green card will be mailed to you within Two-to-Three Weeks

This is a total average timeline of 10-to-14 Months.

Marrying a Green Card Holder Inside the US

What if you are inside the US and marrying a Green Card Holder

Unfortunately this is one of the longest timelines. 

First, you must wait for USCIS to approve your I-130 before you can file your actual green card application. And because this type of green card is not exempt from annual limits, you must wait for a green card in this category to become available before applying. You can check this in the Monthly Visa Bulletin on the State Department’s website.

Right now the F-2A category—which is for  Spouses of Permanent Residents—is current for all areas, meaning you could  file your green card application right away. But going forward if that changes, it could add additional wait time to your timeline. 

When submitting your green card application, you will receive a notice from USCIS by mail within Two Weeks letting you know that it has been received and assigning you a new “receipt number”.

About 1 Month after receiving your application, USCIS will then send a notice for your biometrics appointment. And just like with your I-130,  if USCIS needs more information for your green card application then they will send you a request for evidence Two-Three Months after submitting it. 

The average wait time for your I-485 adjustment of status to be processed is 12-to-23 Months. 

After USCIS has processed it, they will send you a notice with the information for your marriage green card interview that you and your spouse must attend together. Typically it will  take place within One-to-Two Months at the USCIS location closest to where you live, 

Which makes a total average timeline of 22-to-36 months.

Marrying Someone Outside the US

What if you are married to a US Citizen or Green Card Holder but live outside the US

This is commonly referred to as “Consular Processing” because your green card will be processed at the US Embassy or consulate in your home country. 

Once USCIS approves your I-130, they will forward your case to the National Visa Center—or NVC—who will assign it their own unique case number. This will be used to identify your case from that point forward.

Now one thing to note: if you are living outside the US and you’re marrying a green card holder instead of a US citizen then there is an extra step. You will have to wait for your category of green card to become available before you can submit your application. 

Right now the F2A category is current for all areas, so you would NOT have an extra wait. But going forward if this changes, it will increase the overall timeline for your green card.  

Once the NVC accepts your case, they will send a notice by mail instructing you to submit a DS-261 form, which simply tells NVC how to communicate with you though the green card process. It can take up to Three Weeks for them to process this form. 

Next you must pay the NVC processing fee before you can submit your green card application, and that can take up to One Week to be processed. Then you can submit your DS-260, which is the NVC’s green card application. You will get a notice confirming they received your application by mail or email, which is usually sent the day the application packet is received.  

If the NVC needs more information or documents to process your green card, they will send you a checklist of missing documents, typically within One-to-Two Months.

Once the NVC has everything they need, it will take Three-to-Five Months for them to approve the application. 

Once your application is approved, the NVC will then forward your case to the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country for your green card interview. Typically it takes One-to-Two Months to schedule your interview, but because of the current backlog due to COVID, it can take much longer than normal. Specifically how long you will wait will vary by location. 

During this time there are a few things you as the applicant will need to do, including: 

  • getting your medical examination, 
  • confirming your passport delivery address, and 
  • attending your fingerprinting appointment. 

Because your interview is taking place abroad, your spouse will  NOT be required to attend the green card interview with you, so you will go by yourself. NVC will approve your application within One Week of your interview, and may even do it on the spot! You will then receive a stamp in your passport and the ability to travel to the US!

The final step is to pay your last fee to USCIS for your green card, and it will be mailed to you within Two-Three Weeks of receiving payment.

 This makes a total average timeline of 15-to-20 months.

Including all the necessary information with each of your applications will prevent your timeline from being even longer, and an experienced immigration lawyer can help with that. I have helped hundreds of couples get their green cards without experiencing any delays. 

If you would like to work with me, call my office at (212) 248-7907 to schedule a case evaluation.

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