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How Long Does It Take to Get a Marriage Green Card?

The spousal visa currently takes 9.3 months

How long does it take to get a green card from marriage?

The current total wait time for a marriage-based green card averages about 9.3 months (Boundless updates these figures monthly, based on analysis of USCIS data). This will vary depending on whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder and where you currently live (additional backlogs may be applicable depending on your location).

Here’s how long it typically takes to get a marriage green card:

If your spouse is a…And you currently live…Then you will wait about…
U.S. citizenIn the U.S.10–23 months
Abroad13.5–15 months
U.S. green card holderIn the U.S.29–40 months
Abroad29–40 months

Keep reading to find out which processing time applies to your own marriage-based green card application.

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Marriage Green Card Timeline When The Couple Lives in the U.S.

Important Note: Form I-130 Processing Time

All marriage green card applications begin with filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative). The average processing time for Form I-130 is around 12 months. This estimate is based on analysis by Boundless partner Track My Visa Now, who tracks wait times in real time, giving the most up-to-date estimates for Form I-130 petitions filed today.

When the spouse applying for a green card lives in the U.S. and is married to a U.S. citizen

  • Establishing the marriage relationship (Form I-130) and applying for a green card at the same time (Form I-485): 10–23 months

Total estimated time: 10–23 months (full details here)


When the spouse applying for a green card lives in the U.S. and is married to a U.S. green card holder

  • Establishing the marriage relationship (Form I-130) and applying for a green card at the same time (Form I-485): 29–40 months

Total estimated time: 29–40 months (full details here)

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Due to a backlog of cases, applications for spouses and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. green card holders (F-2A category) are now subject to longer processing times. While these individuals can still apply for green cards, their applications won’t be processed until their priority date is current. Boundless will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates in our monthly Visa Bulletin report.

No matter how unique or complex your situation might seem, Boundless can help you apply with confidence. Get started today!


Marriage Green Card Timeline When The Spouse Lives Outside the U.S.

When the spouse (beneficiary) applying for a green card lives abroad and is married to a U.S. citizen

  • Establishing the marriage relationship (Form I-130): 13.5–15 months

Total estimated time: Additional time will vary depending on consulate/embassy backlogs (full details here)

When the spouse (beneficiary) seeking a green card lives abroad and is married to a U.S. green card holder

  • Establishing the marriage relationship (Form I-130): 29–40 months

Total estimated time: Additional time will vary depending on consulate/embassy backlogs (full details here)

Boundless has helped more than 100,000 people reach their immigration goals. We’ll be your visa planning partner from beginning to end. Get started today!


Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of the marriage green card process can vary depending on a number of factors, such as whether the application is filed inside or outside of the United States. Right now, the application fee for a marriage green card is $3005 for an applicant living in the United States or $1340 for an applicant living outside the United States.

Note: In 2023, USCIS proposed a sweeping fee overhaul that could increase the cost for most immigration benefits substantially. Learn how your green card application could be impacted.

In order to successfully apply for a marriage green card, the applicant must be able to prove that their marriage is genuine and that they meet all of the eligibility requirements. These requirements include being married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, being at least 18 years old, and not having any criminal history, among other factors.

There are a number of reasons why delays can occur during the marriage green card process. Some common reasons include problems with proving the bona fides of the marriage or issues with meeting the eligibility requirements. In recent years, green card application processing times have skyrocketed. Delays can also occur if there are errors in the application or if additional information is required by USCIS.

If you are currently living in the United States and your marriage green card application is pending, you may be eligible to apply for work authorization. However, if you are applying for a marriage green card from outside of the United States, you will not be able to work until you have received your green card and entered the United States.

If you are currently living in the United States and your marriage green card application is pending, you may be able to travel outside of the United States using what is known as advance parole. However, if you are applying for a marriage green card from outside of the United States, you will not be able to travel until you have received your green card and entered the United States.

Unfortunately, if your spouse dies during the pendency of your marriage green card application, it is possible your application will be revoked. However, for spouses of U.S. citizens, they may be able to continue with the green card process in specific circumstances. In this case, it is best to speak with an immigration attorney about your options.

If you are already a permanent resident (green card holder), you can apply for citizenship after 5 years. If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you can apply for citizenship after 3 years. However, please keep in mind that these timelines are estimates and the actual time it takes may be shorter or longer depending on your individual circumstances.

The 2024 processing time for the CR1 visa is 13.5–15 months if you’re married to a U.S. citizen and 29–40 months if you’re married to a green card holder. 

While you are not required to have an attorney represent you during the green card process, seeking out legal assistance gives you a greater chance of success. Boundless helped more than 100,000 people on their successful applications (more than any law firm) for a fraction of the price. Learn more about what Boundless can do to help. 


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