Whether you are looking to apply for a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) for your spouse, parent or sibling, or you are a relative of a United States citizen looking to move to the U.S., you’ll need to submit Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, as the first step in the process
We’ll explain what factors affect I-130 processing time for a spouse, parent or sibling, and how our experienced immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein can help you file your petition.
Factors That Affect I-130 Processing Time
Form I-130 is filed by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who plan to sponsor an eligible relative to help them obtain a Green Card, which will give them the right to live in the U.S. permanently.
The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who files the form is known as a sponsor or a Petitioner, while the relative they petition for is known as a Beneficiary.
In order to start the Green Card process, Form I-130 must first be submitted to and approved by the correct U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing center/field office.
The factors that affect Form I-130 processing time include:
- The Beneficiary’s relationship to the U.S. sponsor — whether an immediate relative or a preference category family member
- The Beneficiary’s country of residence at the time the petition is submitted — whether they are in the U.S or outside the country
- Details about the Petitioner and the Beneficiary, such as the immigration history of both parties
- The accuracy with which the I-130 is completed
- The location where the sponsor files the petition
- The workload of employees at USCIS processing center/field office where the petition was submitted
- Whether USCIS requests additional evidence to support the petition
Form I-130 serves to establish the family relationship between the sponsor and the Beneficiary. Once approved, it does not provide any benefits on its own — it is instead the initial step for filing a Green Card or immigrant visa application.
Working with a trusted attorney can help ensure that the form is filed correctly and that approval is as quick and efficient as possible.
Since 1958, our immigration attorneys at The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein have helped thousands of clients with family and employment immigration, citizenship and naturalization, asylum and refugee protection and similar situations.
If you need to file Form I-130, contact our knowledgeable team to set up a consultation and we’ll explain how we can help.
I-130 Processing Time For A Spouse In 2023
For a spouse of a U.S. citizen, the average processing time for Form I-130 in 2023 takes between 12 and 16 months.
Spouses of U.S. citizens are considered immediate relatives.
There are no annual quota restrictions to the number of Green Cards for immediate relatives, which means a Green Card becomes available to the Petitioner right after USCIS approves the petition.
If the spouse is already in the U.S., they may have the right to adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident by submitting Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status concurrently with Form I-130.
Ask our immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein if concurrent filing is possible and/or permitted in your situation.
If the spouse is not in the U.S., upon approval by the USCIS, the petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center, where employees will gather biometric information, financial records, police clearances and other evidence, and forward the application for consular processing.
Spouses of lawful permanent residents fall under the second family preference category, where there is a quota of 87,934 visas per fiscal year. They must wait for a visa to become available in this category to continue the process.
Whether a visa is available can be tracked in the Visa Bulletin of the National Visa Center (NVC), published monthly. The Bulletin contains information about the country of application, visa quota and the date for the specific visa type.
For a spouse of a U.S. lawful permanent resident, the processing time of Form I-130 takes between 14 and 37 months.
Because every case is different, some I-130 forms may take longer to resolve than others.
Typically, USCIS handles the cases in the order they are received. The quoted processing times are based on the time frame needed to complete 80% of the cases that were resolved in the previous six months.
I-130 petitions typically do not allow premium or expedited processing. USCIS will only consider expedited requests in case of humanitarian urgency or in relation to the interests of the U.S. government.
Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers at Spar & Bernstein will review the details of your application and determine whether you are eligible to place an expedited request for Form I-130.
I-130 Processing Time For Unmarried Children Under 21 In 2023
Like spouses, unmarried children under 21 are considered immediate relatives if the sponsor is a U.S. citizen. Hence, the processing times are the same as those for spouses and there are no visa quotas.
The time it takes to process Form I-130 for a U.S. citizen’s unmarried children under 21 is between 12 and 16 months.
Unmarried children of lawful permanent residents under the age of 21 are part of the second preference category, which means they must wait for visa availability in their category.
The time it takes to process Form I-130 for a U.S. lawful permanent resident’s unmarried children under 21 is between 14 and 37 months.
I-130 Processing Time For Unmarried Children 21 Or Older
Both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to petition for their unmarried children who are over 21 years of age.
The processing time of Form I-130 for the unmarried child of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older is between 26 and 77 months.
The processing time of Form I-130 for the unmarried child of a U.S. lawful permanent resident who is 21 or older is between 35 and 65 months. The annual quota per fiscal year for this category is 26,266 and a visa must be available to proceed with the Green Card or immigration visa application process.
I-130 Processing Time For Parents In 2023
Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible to be sponsored for a Green Card as immediate relatives under the condition that the U.S resident is 21 or older.
The time it takes to process Form I-130 for a U.S. citizen’s parent is between 12 and 16 months — the same time frame as for other immediate relatives.
Lawful permanent residents cannot file I-130 for their parents.
I-130 Processing Time For Siblings In 2023
Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who are 21 or older are eligible to be sponsored for a Green Card.
However, siblings are not treated as immediate relatives — they fall under the F4 family preference category. This means that the siblings of a U.S citizen must wait until there is a visa available for them.
In 2023, the estimated waiting time for processing Form I-130 for siblings of a U.S. citizen ranges between 22 and 113 months.
Permanent residents do not have the right to petition for siblings to live permanently in the U.S.
How To Check The Processing Time After Filing Form I-130
To check the processing time after filing Form I-130, visit the processing time section on USCIS website.
- The type of form
- The form category
- The field office where the petition was filed
If you have been waiting longer than the specified time range for your category, submit an electronic inquiry using:
- The receipt number
- The date of filing
- An email address
How Spar & Bernstein Can Help In The Green Card Process
Our knowledgeable and compassionate immigration attorneys at Spar & Bernstein will help you navigate the complex Green Card application process in the U.S.
Often taking several years, the process requires precise paperwork and documentation to ensure approval.
We have extensive experience submitting Form I-130 on behalf of families wishing to bring their loved ones to America permanently. We complete all documentation with the utmost care and attention to detail to avoid delays or denials.
Our team will provide you with an estimated timeline for approval and advise you on whether the concurrent filing of additional Green Card applications is possible in your case, to speed up the overall process.
While waiting on USCIS to process your form, our attorneys will walk you through other areas of the Green Card process, helping you prep for your interview or medical exam, for example.
Whether you are beginning the Green Card process for your spouse, parent or sibling, our attorneys will be by your side every step of the way.
For more immigration insights, watch the Brad Show Live, on weekdays from 6 to 8 p.m. EST, hosted by our Managing Partner, Brad Bernstein. During the show, Brad answers both immigration and personal injury questions submitted on social media and during live calls.
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Bradford H. Bernstein
This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.View Brad's Bio