Millions of people apply for a green card yearly, so the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has to process this enormous number of applications. Furthermore, people from all over the world apply for green cards under various categories. So why do millions of people opt for Green Cards? And how long does it take to get US green card for parents?

Since the green card is not bound to a single category, there are multiple categories, and each type has its processing duration and timeline. Before moving toward the processing time for each classification, it is also better to understand the overall procedure of the types of green cards.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card allows foreign nationals to become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the United States. Furthermore, the green card enables non-U.S. citizens to reside in the states legally. These nationals are also allowed to live and work freely in the country. Additionally, these green card holders can further apply for neutralization and become U.S. citizens after three to five years.

Types of Green Cards

Since there is not a single category, these are the major categories of green cards that can help a foreign national to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) of the U.S.

Family-Based Green Card

The family-based green card allows U.S. citizens and green card holders to invite their immediate family members to the United States. Furthermore, this process is constituted under the family-based immigration category.

These family-based immigration cards usually have the shortest processing time and timeline, as the immediate family members are issued green cards at the earliest because USCIS terms family reunification as its first preference.

Marriage-Based Green Card

Foreign nationals can obtain a marriage-based green card if they are married to a U.S. citizen. Under this process, the U.S. citizen (spouse) can sponsor a foreign national to become a green card holder.

Employment-Based Green Card

Skilled Foreign Workers residing in the United States for work purposes are accommodated under this category. The competition and processing queue under this category is relatively high, as there are millions of people who have applied under this category.

Returning Resident Immigrant Visa

Those immigrants who have received a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status but have not been in the U.S. for years can eventually lose their status.

Therefore, these applicants can again apply for a green card under a returning resident immigrant visa and can renew their green card holder status.

Green Card Sponsorship Requirements

The following requirements must be met before applying for a family-based green card for a relative:

  • The green card petitioner must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • Must be financially capable of bearing the expenses of family members or immediate relatives they invite.
  • Must demonstrate a qualifying relationship between the applicants and petitioners themselves.
  • They must maintain their residence in the U.S.

Furthermore, the correct supporting documents and evidence must be provided while applying for a green card.

Family-based green card types

The family-based green cards can be majorly categorized into two categories:

1.      Immediate Relatives

2.      Family Preference

These categories have their own processing time; however, the immediate relatives can enjoy an earlier processing time and receive a green card much earlier than the family preference categories.

Green Cards for Parents Lawfully Residing in the U.S.

There is no additional processing time for parents in getting a green card; the only time it takes is to file the paperwork. Furthermore, if the parents entered the country legally, they could change their immigration status to permanent residents without leaving the country. Even if your parents have overstayed their welcome, this is still true.

However, if your parents entered the nation unchecked, they will need to go back to undergo a green card interview. They might also require I-601A unlawful presence waivers.

If the petitioner’s parents have entered the state legally and are currently residing in the United States, they can file this petition while remaining in the U.S.

Usually, the process takes around 12 months once after the following submissions are made:

  • I-130 petition for parents
  • U.S. citizenship proof
  • Documents supporting the relationship between the applicants.

Furthermore, each parent should submit an I-485 application at the same time as these documents to change their status from citizen to lawful permanent resident. They should submit applications for advance paroles (also known as advance travel documents) and work permits (EADs). Each parent’s affidavit of support must be submitted.

Green Cards for Parents Living Abroad

If the petitioner’s parents live abroad, their immediate relative can also submit the petition. This process usually takes 12-18 months. Under this condition, the following procedures must be followed:

  • Applying form I-130 for parents.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • Evidence demonstrating that you are at least 21 years old.
  • Supporting documents about your relationship with your parents (birth certificate, medical certificates, etc.)

The petitions are reviewed by the USCIS for a few months before being granted and then sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The NVC will then speak with parents personally to discuss any additional requirements for their immigration visa interviews. The US Embassy or Consulate in their nation will host these interviews.

An affidavit of support for each parent must be provided once all required documentation has been filed and filing costs have been paid. The NVC will subsequently forward these records to the relevant Embassy or Consulate, where your parents will be questioned. If accepted, your parents will have six months to travel to the United States.

Immediate Relative Green Card

The immediate relative green card has the lowest processing time since the USCIS gives it a higher preference over other family-based green card types. Following are the two primary reasons behind it:

  • There is no annual limit for issuing green cards to immediate relatives.
  • The close relatives don’t need to worry about the green card queuing procedure compared to other categories.

The adjudication procedure begins as soon as the USCIS receives the I-130 petition. The green card will be accessible as soon as it is approved.

Family green card categories

Apart from the immediate relatives (spouse, parents, or minor child), the USCIS also allows the family preference categories to be included under the family-based immigration process. However, when compared with the immediate relatives’ category, these petitioners may face a higher processing time in their process.

The other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card under the preference immigrant visa categories are:

  • First Preference (F1):

Under this category, unmarried children (21 years of age or above) of U.S. citizens can file a petition for a green card.

  • Second Preference (F2A):

Spouses and children (unmarried and 21 years of age or above) of lawful permanent residents are encouraged to file a petition.

  • Second Preference (F2B):

Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or above) of lawful permanent residents can apply.

  • Third Preference (F3):

Married Children (sons and daughters) of U.S. citizens can apply for this petition.

  • Fourth Preference (F4):

Brothers and Siblings of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is of 21 years or above) are also allowed to file the petition.

Family Based Green Cards processing time

On average, the processing time for the parents of U.S. citizens is around 10 to 13 months. Furthermore, the number of green cards is unlimited, just like it is for spouses of American citizens. So, if you have a parent relationship, you can typically apply for a green card within a year.

As explained previously, the parents’ green card usually has a faster processing time than other categories. This is only due to the factor that parents are considered immediate relatives.

I-130 Processing Time

Once the form I-130 is approved, and the filing fees have been paid, applicants must submit the affidavit of support for each parent. Afterward, the National Visa Center forwards it to the embassy in the petitioner’s parent’s home country. After USCIS has authorized the I-130, the parents must file Form I-485 at that time.

The filing of the I-130 is the first step in beginning the family-based green card process. The I-130 petition must be submitted to the USCIS by a citizen of the United States or a green card holder. Furthermore, the petition must be supported by the necessary paperwork proving eligibility and a qualifying family relationship between the applicants.

The petitioner receives a receipt in the mail once the USCIS has received the petition. The sponsored foreign national will then have to wait until a green card becomes available for their category if the petition is approved.

This does not apply to candidates who are citizens of the United States or their immediate families. As previously said, they don’t need to wait for a visa number because they can always get an immigrant visa as soon as the I-130 petition filed in their favor is granted.

Processing Time for Immediate Relative Applicants

The processing time for the immediate relative applicants, including the parents, spouse, and children, is slightly faster than other applicants. The parents usually take around 10 to 13 months to get a green card.

Green Card for Parents Processing Times

Depending upon the application, it may take seven to 33 months to get a green card, depending on the office where you apply for your Green Card.

Some USCIS offices are busier, and it could take longer for a foreign consulate or embassy to assist the applicants.

Additionally, keep in mind the demand and cap for the sort of visa you are applying for. The wait for a family-based Green Card might be up to ten years, as the immediate family members are given top-most priority.

Speeding up the Green Card Processing times

In the case of family members living abroad, everyone hopes to meet with their loved ones at the earliest. Similarly, by reading the above information, you might have understood the green card application process clearly.

Furthermore, if you still consider that your application process is taking much longer, then it is better to contact your law firm, and you can get a consultation about expediting the process.

Timeline for Green Card

Following are the major processes that are involved in getting a green card for parents. Here is the timeline below:

  1. Filing a petition to sponsor your parents (I-130 petition)

The first step is to file a petition for parents’ green cards. If the parents are outside the country, they must go through consular processing and hold off on submitting their Green Card application until their form I-130 has been accepted. When someone applies for a permanent residency (Green Card) from their native country, their local U.S. consulate handles the application.

  1. Waiting for the approval of the petition

The USCIS holds the authority to accept or reject any petition filed.

  1. Applying for a green card Once the petition is approved, the parents can apply for a green card.
  2. Completing the Biometrics Appointments Fulfilling the biometrics requirements.
  3. Interview An interview is held at the U.S. embassy if the parents are living in their home country.
  4. Receiving Green Cards Once the interview goes successful, the green cards are allotted to the parents.

Asking for speeding up the processing time

The applicants can contact the USCIS to expedite the process.


1. How long does it take for U.S. citizen to bring their parents?

The process usually takes around ten to thirteen months.

2. How long does it take to get a green card for parents in 2022?

If the parents have entered the states legally, they can get a green card in 12 months.

3. Can I bring my parents to the USA permanently with a green card?

Yes, U.S. citizens and green card holders can file a petition to bring their parents to the U.S.

4. How long does it take for a parent petition to be approved?

It may take up to six months to be approved by the court when a family member files a petition and a few years for family preference groups. The numbers above are approximations.

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