Integrity Legal

22nd January 2010

One of the major questions invariably on the lips of prospective visa applicant’s and petitioners is: how long will the process take? This question is not as easily answered as some might think because the entire process is actually three processes in one. First there is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) adjudication phase, then there is the National Visa Center (NVC) processing phase, and finally there is the US Embassy interview and adjudication phase. In most cases, the interview phase is the final phase of the process as the visa application is either approved or denied at this point. However, if there is a legal grounds of inadmissibility or if the applicant has previously been subject to deportation or expedited removal in the US, then either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver may be necessary. In routine cases, the interview is usually the last major phase of the visa obtainment process.

That being said, the first major phase of the process involves the submission of petitions to USCIS. As many petitions are filed with USCIS each year, this phase of the process is often the most time consuming as the US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident’s petition must wait in the queue for adjudication.

Recently, USCIS updated their processing time estimates, below please find the most recent processing time estimates for family based petitions for K-1 visas, K-3 visas, and Immigrant visas.

The California Service Center processing times are as follows:

I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 April 02, 2005
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 May 23, 2002
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister October 02, 2000
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 January 02, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 December 02, 2002
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months

The Vermont Service Center processing times are as follows:

I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-1/K-2 – Not yet married – fiance and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance(e) K-3/K-4 – Already married – spouse and/or dependent child 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 5 Months
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 July 23, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a married son or daughter over 21 July 23, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister April 23, 2008
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for a spouse or child under 21 May 28, 2007
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative Permanent resident filling for an unmarried son or daughter over 21 March 27, 2007
I-131 Application for Travel Document All other applicants for advance parole 3 Months
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal Readmission after deportation or removal 4 Months

One should not misunderstand the above information, these processing times do not reflect the entire time that it takes to complete the entire visa process as a US Family visa petition must also process through the National Visa Center as well as the Embassy in the country where the visa is to be issued. In Thailand, most visa applications for family members of US Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents are adjudicated at the US Embassy in Bangkok.


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