U.S. Immigration Help – Processing Times
Helpful tips and resources for navigating visa and green card processing times
Some of the most common questions during the U.S. immigration process are: How long does the process take? When will I receive a decision on my case? Processing times are often top of mind for anyone applying for a visa, green card, or U.S. citizenship, and they can vary widely depending on your specific circumstances.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about U.S. immigration processing times, including how to track current wait times, tactics you can use to speed up your application, and more.
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Understanding Processing Times
Processing times in U.S. immigration are the amount of time it takes for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process an immigration application or petition. The processing time can vary depending on the type of visa application or petition, the office that is processing the case, and the applicant’s individual circumstances.
USCIS provides a processing time estimate for each type of application or petition on its website. The processing time estimate is the amount of time it took USCIS to complete 80% of cases over the last six months.
It’s important to note that the processing time estimate is just an estimate. The actual processing time for an individual case may be longer or shorter. There are a number of factors that can affect the processing time, such as the complexity of the case, the number of applications or petitions that USCIS is currently processing, and the applicant’s specific situation. Next, we’ll go over how to track the estimated processing times for different visa types.
How to Track Current Processing Times
As noted above, processing time estimates will vary depending on the type of application you’re filing. Here are several guides to help you find more processing time information for your specific visa or application type:
- General USCIS Processing Times
- General Green Card Processing Times
- Marriage-based Green Card Processing Times
- K-1 Fiancé Visa Processing Times
- Naturalization Processing Times
CURRENT AVERAGE PROCESSING TIMES BY VISA TYPE
Marriage-based Green Card: 17 months
K-1 Fiancé Visa: 14-19 months
Naturalization: 10 months
Understanding the Visa Bulletin
For certain green card applicants, a U.S. immigration guideline known as the “visa bulletin” can play an important role in processing times and how quickly a green card application can progress.
The visa bulletin exists to notify immigrants when they can file a green card application based on their country of birth and filing date. The visa bulletin is published monthly by the U.S. Department of State and is divided into two parts: the family-sponsored preference categories and the employment-based preference categories.
If you fall into one of the family-sponsored or employment-based categories, it’s important to check the visa bulletin regularly to see if your “priority date” is current. If your priority date is current, then you can apply for an immigrant visa (green card). More information on priority dates and how to read the visa bulletin can be found in Boundless’ guide.
The visa bulletin is an important tool for immigrants looking to obtain a green card. By understanding the visa bulletin, you’ll have a better idea of how long your green card application may take and you can plan your immigration journey accordingly.
Boundless publishes updates for the most recent Visa Bulletin here.
Methods to Speed Up the Visa Process
Is your application taking too long? Need your visa or green card urgently? Check out these Boundless guides on how to expedite your application and speed up your visa processing:
Checking Your Case Status and Contacting USCIS for Help
In addition to researching the processing time estimates provided by USCIS, once you file your application, it’s important to regularly track the status of your case. Tracking your case status can give you a better understanding of next steps in the process and how much longer you’re likely to wait for a decision on your application.
Here are some helpful guides on how to track your case status:
If you’re having trouble tracking your case, or have any specific questions on the status of your application, you can contact USCIS directly using one of the easy methods outlined in our USCIS contact guide.