Waiting for a Visa
U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can petition for green cards for their family members. Find out why it can sometimes take months or years for them to get their visas.
U.S. law establishes categories of visa types, some of which have annual limits.
for spouses, parents, and children (if unmarried and under age 21) of U.S. citizens
Visas are always available for people in this category.
BASIC WAIT TIMES STILL APPLY
Click here for current USCIS application processing times.
OTHER FAMILY-BASED PETITIONS
for children (over age 21) and siblings of U.S. citizens; and spouses and children of legal permanent residents
AND EMPLOYMENT-BASED PETITIONS
There are only a certain number of visas available each year.
WAIT TIMES VARY
Check the State Department's visa bulletin each month for updated priority dates
New bulletins are released every month. Identifying your visa category and country of origin can help you get a better idea of how long your wait might be.
Remember that the dates shown in the visa bulletin don't necessarily correspond to the number of months or years until your application becomes current. You can find the most recent visa bulletins on the Department of State's website.
Unmarried children (over age 21) of U.S. citizens
Spouses and children of legal permanent residents (LPRs)
Unmarried children (over age 21) of LPRs
Married children of U.S. citizens
Siblings of U.S. citizens
Legal permanent residents can only petition for immediate family members, and even then the number of available visas is limited. Citizens have much shorter wait times for most family members and can petition for siblings and parents. Naturalizing as soon as you're eligible can move your petition up in the waiting list.
Even though visa wait times can be long, filing an I-130 petition guarantees you a spot in line and may work to your benefit in the event that you are deported or the law changes.
Questions? See our I-130 page for common answers to doubts about the application process.