How Long Does It Take to Get an Immigrant Visa?

The U.S. government issues immigrant visas to those qualifying individuals who intend to permanently live in the U.S. Those seeking immigrant visas are often anxious to receive them. Wait times to receive an immigrant visa, however, vary. Some become more readily available to others. The wait time to receive an immigrant visa will largely depend on the category of immigrant visa being sought.

The Wait Time of an Immigrant Visa for Consular Processing

After your petition for an immigrant visa has been approved by USCIS, your file will be transferred to the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) for pre-processing. You will need to submit all requisite fees, forms, and documents of support to NVC. NVC will then review your case to make sure you have provided all the necessary documentation. You will also be scheduled for and required to attend an immigrant visa interview. The time of your scheduled interview will depend on appointment availability at the Embassy or Consulate. After all of these hoops have been jumped through, you should be aware of the fact that even if USCIS approves your immigrant visa petition, you may not get an immigrant visa number immediately.

You see, there are a limited number of immigrant visas available every year. This means that wait times to receive an immigrant visa develop. Your wait time will depend on the type of immigrant visa category for which you applied. For instance, those who apply for immigrant visas as “immediate relatives” of a U.S. citizen do not have to wait for a visa number once approved. While immediate relatives need to wait for their visa applications to be processed, there is no additional delay in receiving an available visa number. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen include spouses, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21. While immediate relatives may not have any wait time to receive their immigrant visas, other categories of visa applicants are not as fortunate.

All other immigrant visa categories are generally subject to wait times. Some visa categories of immigrant visas usually have extensive wait times. For instance, those for siblings are usually lengthy. You can check out your wait time status by reviewing the monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State each month. The bulletin lists pending visas according to the “priority date.” Your priority date is the date your immigrant visa petition was received by USCIS.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at