How long will it take for my F2A (or other Family-Based) Application to be Processed?

By now, many permanent residents and their families have filed the I-130/I-485 package with USCIS in light of the “current” priority dates as reflected in the August and September visa bulletins. A burning question then is “how long will this take?” And for that question, I have a classic lawyer answer: It Depends!

  1. I-130 Processing – The first step in the process is the I-130 petition. Once filed with USCIS, it can take USCIS several months, and up to a year or more to process the I-130 petition. Keep in mind that USCIS processing times change all the time depending on case volume and other factors.
  2. If your case was filed for a family member who is in the US in valid immigration status, and if you filed the I-485 (application for permanent residence, also known as the green card application) with the I-130, the I-485 is often approved either at the same time as the I-130 petition, or shortly thereafter. If your application is not approved at the same time or soon after, it may be delayed due to a background check or for other reasons. Remember, you can place a service request with USCIS once the case is more than 30 days past reported USCIS processing times.
  3. If your case was filed for a family member who is currently outside the US, the case will be sent to the National Visa Center, and ultimately to the consulate indicated on the I-130 petition, for processing. This process can also take several months or up to a year or more, depending on the specific consulate.
  4. Finally, remember that if your permanent residence application (via adjustment of status inside the US, or via consular processing) is not approved before the priority dates retrogress again, it may not be approved until your priority date is current.

While this wait may seem daunting, it’s often better to get started now and wait it out than to delay filing and miss your chance to file for an indefinite period. Contact us today to form your strategy for success! 804-396-3412 or

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