One of the Most Frequent Questions We Get
Accurate processing time estimates can significantly affect the lives of applicants, employers, and the local communities they support. USCIS should prioritize transparency in its methods while improving the accuracy of processing times. Doing so not only supports the agency’s mission but would support economic and social stability in the United States—a benefit for everyone.
How long does it take to process a Green Card application? This is one of the most frequent questions that our clients ask. However, it does not have a straight forward answer. Even though it seems like an easy one, it is very difficult to find a reliable and accurate answer. USCIS provides a range to estimate the time needed to process an immigration application.
Since March, the agency introduced a program that changed how they estimate the time ranges for four types of applications. However, processing times are not accurate. At our immigration law firm, we have noticed and reported processing times to be different from the reality.
Attempting to estimate more accurately how long it will take to process certain filings, the agency uses an automated methodology. According to them, an application for permanent residence takes between 7 and 33 months to process. The difference lays in office location, basis for the filing and other factors.
- The pilot program only applies to four types of applications:
- N-400, Application for Naturalization
- I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
- I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
The fact that the pilot program only includes four categories remains a concern. Besides, the times are still estimates and don’t show the complexity of most cases.
Accessing this information is critical given the long-lasting backlog of filings at USCIS. An application or petition that allows a person to work or travel internationally may be pending for several months to many years, leaving applicants—or employers petitioning for potential or current employees—in limbo for long periods of time.