How Long Will it Take To Obtain a Green Card

In the employment based green card, there are many factors that have an impact on the processing times. The processing time may range by years from one case to the other.

All labor certifications are filed under the PERM process. It could take as long as four to six months for the PERM case to be ready for filing. After this is filed, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will process in approximately 60 days. In the past, PERM processing period have ranged from a few days to more than six months. There would be further delay if there is an audit by the DOL. Though the time needed for the additional processing of the audited PERM application cannot be evaluated, it can add an additional year or more. The time from the initiation of the PERM process to the final approval may approximately take six to ten months.

Once the labor certification is approved, the next is the employer petition (I-140) and the adjustment of status (I-485) process. Coming to the I-140 petition, the time taken to prepare this can depend upon the availability of documents and the rapid action by the US employer, the foreign national employee, and if needed an attorney. It is better to gather all supporting documents well in hand and while filing the PERM LC. Updated financial information has to be got and that would mean further slowing the preparation time.

You can get the average processing time based upon the Service Center Processing Times reports. The processing time can differ depending upon the service center where you filed your application. On an average the processing times range from four months to a year. You have the option of expediting the I-140 process through premium processing. You can file Form I-140 and the I-485 at the same time as soon as the labor certification is approved. But remember that you cannot file Form I-485 unless the priority date is current. It is mandatory that you have a medical exam, which implies further delay as you have to wait for a doctor’s appointment and test results. You also have to submit birth and marriage certificates and biographical information.

Due to the unavailability of visa numbers, you cannot always file the I-485 with the I-140. It is mandatory that there is an visa number available in the particular classification in order to file an I-485. Even if you have an approved labor certification and even an approved I-140, but you may not be able to get to the I-485 stage. Labor certification and the I-140 can be approved without regard to visa number availability. Till the visa numbers become available, this particular case will have to wait to file Form I-485. This wait could be a few weeks, months, years or longer. Because of these reasons, it is difficult to predict when you will be getting your green card.

There are many other factors that add to the delay. Receipt of requests for evidence (RFEs) will further slow down the process. Processing times vary form each service center to the other. Some employment-based green card are forwarded to the local USCIS offices for interview which can cause additional delay.