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What Are The Average Family Based Immigration Processing Times In The United States?

What Are The Average Family Based Immigration Processing Times In The United States?

Starting the immigration process for you and your family to the United States is an exciting time. Although the process is lengthy and detailed, the end result is something many people dream of their entire lives. Cheves Briceno is honored to be a part of so many of our client’s success stories, always changing lives for the better. We understand the difficulties of immigration and how confusing it can be, especially for those who deal with language and cultural barriers. 

When we first see our clients in immigration consultations, we tend to get this question first- “how long does family-based immigration take?” In full transparency, our attorneys know that this timeframe will vary for a variety of reasons. It is mainly dependent upon who is applying for citizenship, how much documentation is present, and what the reasons are for applying. In this article, Cheves Briceno will lay out the basic processes for a family-based immigration petition and explain the family-based immigration processing times that come with it.

Family immigration

Starting the Family-Based Immigration Petition Process

In the case of an immediate relative application, there are three notable timeframes. The shortest timeframe for an approved family-based immigration petition is 8-12 months if the spouse/petitioner is a U.S. citizen and the foreign partner is living in the U.S. at the time of filing. If the spouse/petitioner is outside of the U.S. at the time of filing, it can take up to 16-18 months. However, if the I-130 paperwork is for a permanent resident filing for a spouse or child under the age of 21, the processing time can be as long as 16-30 months. 

How Long Does Family-Based Immigration Take for Family Preference Applicants?

Family preference applications are much harder to get accepted, as there are only a limited number of visas given out per year for this category of applicants. The total number of family-based visas have a set “ceiling” of 480,000 in any given year, and while there is no limitation on the number of visas issued to immediate relative applicants, there is a set “floor” of 226,000 out of the 480,000 visas for the family preference applicants only. The 480,000 ceiling can be exceeded if there is a higher number of immediate relative applicants in a given year, but no more than 226,000 family preference visas are allocated per year. 

All of this to say, family preference applicants experience much longer wait times for their visas than immediate relatives. For family preference, it can take as long as a decade or more to get your application approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Many families and their loved ones struggle to get their family preference visas cleared in the United States. Unfortunately, there are backlogs in the system, and there are family preference applications that have yet to be approved for over 30 years. Cheves Briceno recommends going through with the immediate relative family-based immigration petition if possible- but we understand that not everyone has the privilege of having family already here in the United States.

Can Family-Based Immigration Processing Times Be Expedited?

While there are certain U.S. document applications that can be expedited for an extra charge (like passports), almost all family-based immigration petition documents cannot be expedited for faster processing. There are very rare instances where the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept an expedited application, with one being a U.S. government interest. Besides that, all applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis

Start Your Family-Based Immigration Petition With Cheves Briceno Today!

Nothing is quite as valuable as peace of mind. With Cheves Briceno’s immigration law attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia, your family’s I-130 paperwork will be completed correctly the first time, so you know that your paperwork will be put in the queue immediately after submission. We understand that family-based immigration processing times can take years, and our job is to provide excellent service that educates and reassures our clients during the entire process, from start to finish. 

If you or a loved one is looking to start the family-based immigration petition process, look no further than Cheves Briceno! Contact us, and we will schedule a consultation to identify your next steps to obtaining a United States citizenship today! 

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