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The Processing Time and Steps during the Family Green Card Application


I plan to sponsor my relatives for Green Card application. What are the processing time and steps during the process?


If you are planning on acting as a green card sponsor for a family member, various factors can stretch the process into months, depending on how long it takes you to gather documents and prepare the appropriate paperwork; who you plan to sponsor; whether there is a limit on immigrant visa numbers given out in that category; and how backlogged the various USCIS offices that you will deal with are at the time.

First, you will need to fill out USCIS Form I-130, and attach your U.S. citizenship or Green Card evidence, as well as proof of your relationship to your family member. USCIS' process for the petition can take several months. Usually later, you will need to prepare an Affidavit of Support on Form I-864, together with documents proving that you are able and willing to support the immigrant at an amount that is at least 125% of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

In addition, your family member will need to prepare various documents as his or her own application for a green card. The exact forms and process depend on whether your relative will be adjusting status in the U.S. or going through consular processing from another country. Your relative will also need to undergo a medical exam, and get the doctor's report to submit with the green card application.
At every step of the way, you will be dealing with a government agency that is backlogged with other applicants. The typical processing steps you may encounter include:
  • waiting a receipt notice after submitting Form I-130;
  • if your relative will be coming from abroad and going to consular processing, awaiting transfer of the case to a U.S. consulate and correspondence from the National Visa Center;
  • if your relative is in the U.S. and will be adjusting status inside U.S, awaiting a receipt notice and then a fingerprinting appointment waiting for the FBI to process your relative's fingerprints,
  • waiting an interview with the U.S. consulate or USCIS office.




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