How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

Applying to become a lawful permanent U.S. resident is an exciting, albeit complex and lengthy process. There are steps you can take to minimize the time it takes to get your green card, such as properly filing your application and observing all requisite formalities of the process, but it will still take a significant amount of time. In fact, getting a green card can take years, in some cases. The amount of time it actually takes to obtain a green card will largely depend on things such as what type of green card you are applying for as well as which processing center you use, among other things.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?

While there may not be things you can do to speed up the green card application process, there are steps you can take to help see that your application is processed as quickly as it can be. For instance, wait until you’re eligible for the green card before you apply. USCIS has strict rules in place about who is eligible and when a person becomes eligible for a green card. Should you submit a green card application prior to your eligibility period, you will have lost time as well as money.

You can also minimize the risk of delays in the green card application process by following the process as prescribed. Skipping steps will only lead to delays. Following each step in the process and complying with the requirements of each step is a solid step towards seeing that your application does not encounter delays.

As previously stated, the length of time it takes for you to get a green card will largely depend on the type of application you are looking to file. For instance, if you are applying for a marriage-based green card, depending upon where you live it can take about a year to receive your green card. There is no cap in place on the number of marriage-based green cards allowed each year. This means that you will not need to wait in “line” to be approved for this type of green card. You will, of course, still need to go through the application process and prove to the USCIS that you should be granted a marriage-based green card.

On the other hand, employment-based green cards can take much more time to be approved. This is because, while there are a variety of employment-based visa categories. Each category has an annual cap in place for the number of green cards that can be granted. Thus, the more popular categories are likely to take a longer period of time to process.

Once your green card application has made it through the approval process and you are granted your green card, you will still have to wait a couple more weeks before the actual green card is mailed to your residence. You should also note that you will need to renew your green card every ten years unless it is a conditional green card.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. and Canadian Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact us at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. and Canadian Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x104). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at