How Long Does a Spouse Visa Take?


If you are here on this page, you probably want to know how long does a spouse visa take.

The whole process depends on your situation, including completing the necessary paperwork, filing for an immigrant visa application, and receiving a Green Card.

In general, the immigration process takes longer for spouses of lawful permanent residents than for citizens of the United States. The processing time is also a bit longer for a foreign spouse living abroad.

How The USCIS Processes Spouse Visa

Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative is used by both holders of Green Cards and U.S. citizens to assist their spouse in obtaining legal permanent residency.

Processing starts as soon as the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) receives your form. The USCIS updates the time frames listed below every month. For the most recent Form I-130 processing times, contact the USCIS.

Petitioner Status Where Beneficiary Lives Waiting Time
U.S. Citizen U.S. 11 to 20 months
Abroad 7.5 to 13.4 months
U.S. Green Card Holder (lawful permanent resident)


U.S. 11 to 20 months
Abroad 13.5 to 36 months

Marriage Green Card Processing Time

The waiting period for a marriage green card is around 15.5 months. Whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or green card holder, as well as where you currently reside, will affect the processing time.

A marriage green card typically takes the following amount of time:

Service Center Petitioner Status Waiting Time
California Service Center U.S. Citizen 19.5 to 25.5 months
Permanent Resident
Nebraska Service Center U.S. Citizen 2 to 7 months
Permanent Resident 2.5 to 7 months
Potomac Service Center U.S Citizen 12.5 months to 16.5 months
Permanent Resident 23 to 30 months
Texas Service Center U.S. Citizen 1 week to 7 months
Permanent Resident 9 to 12 months
Vermont Service Center U.S. Citizen 15 to 19 months
Permanent Resident 28 to 36 months

Application For Spouse Green Card

There are additional steps in the process after submitting a successful Petition for Alien Relative application to get your spouse a family-based Green Card.

The spouse visa processing time is longer than for spouses of U.S. citizens, even though many steps are similar.

Legal Permanent Resident Filing for a Spouse

Your spouse will be added to a waiting list for immigration visas once your USCIS I-130 forms are approved. Your spouse’s visa priority date changes to the date of the initial petition filing.

Depending on your spouse’s priority date, the wait time for a visa can be around two years. The length of the waiting period will also change depending on your spouse’s home country.

You can send your visa application to the U.S. National Visa Center (NVC) as soon as your priority date becomes current. The processing of visas takes three to five months.

U.S Citizen Filing for a Spouse

You can apply for your immigrant visa petition via the NVC once the USCIS approves your I-130 petitions. As previously mentioned, the NVC typically needs three to five months to process your spouse’s visa.

Processing Spouse Green Card

The NVC will then forward the spouse’s visa file to the consulate or embassy that is closest to them. Up to three months may pass during processing here. The consulate or embassy may then schedule interviews for visas.

Your spouse will go to the American consulate or embassy on the day of the interview. Following approval, the consulate or embassy will issue your spouse an immigration visa, giving them six months to travel to the United States.

Upon arrival, they’ll show their documents and visa at the port of entry. Your spouse’s Green Card will come in the mail a few weeks later.

Your spouse’s conditional resident Green Card expires after two years for couples married under two years. Your spouse must submit a Form-751 petition for a permanent resident status 90 days before the conditional card expires.

Total Processing Time

In most cases, if there are no aggravating circumstances:

  • Currently, the processing time for U.S. citizen spouse green cards ranges between 12 and 18 months.
  • Processing time for the spouse of a green card holder currently ranges from 24 to 36 months.

This period is from the I-130 filing date to the day the spouse arrives in the country and receives their green card.

Keep in mind that these are only estimates and that waiting times can change significantly depending on the specifics of your case, as well as modifications to policies and procedures affecting the entire immigration process.

Any irregularities in your case could lead to protracted delays and complicate matters further. These may include any inaccuracies or omissions on any form you must submit or any past immigration issues involving you or your spouse.

Starting a new life with your spouse is exciting and joyful. Hiring a professional and experienced immigration attorney will help you ensure that the process of bringing your spouse to the United States goes as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Schedule a consultation with Hacking Immigration Law, LLC today!

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