Weddings and marriages already have their timelines as it is; waiting for a marriage-based green card makes the wait longer. The line between applying for a marriage-based green card and obtaining it can be very long, depending on your circumstances. For instance, if you are married to a US citizen, the process may be easier and take less time. This is because spouses of US citizens are considered immediate relatives and are given priority over spouses of green card holders.

Apart from who your spouse is, where you, as the immigrant spouse, live can also influence your application’s timeline. For instance, it typically takes less time if you live outside the United States than if you live in it. Generally, the timeframe for obtaining a marriage-based green card is between ten and fifty-nine months. If you want to better understand the timeline for a marriage-based green card, keep reading.

How Long Does the Spousal Visa Processing Take?

First, understand that in the green card application process, the US spouse is the sponsor while the alien spouse is the beneficiary. To know how long the spouse visa will take, you must establish two things: 

  • Will the beneficiary be in the US under a nonimmigrant visa or living abroad at the time of the application? And
  • Is the green card sponsor a lawful permanent resident or a US citizen?

Once you are clear on these two things, you can calculate how long you have to wait for your marriage green card.

For the US Citizen Spouse

If your spouse is a US citizen and you are currently residing in the United States. The marriage green card process will take approximately between 11.5 and 31 months. On the other hand, if you reside abroad and are married to a US citizen, it’ll take between 12.5 and 18 months.

For the US Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse

If you’re married to a green card holder (permanent resident) and you currently reside in the United States. The marriage green card process will take about 20.5 and 59 months. On the other hand, if you live abroad as a spouse of the LPR, it will take between 10.5 and 30 months.

Marriage to a US Citizen in Los Angeles, California

Being married to a United States citizen does not automatically confer US citizenship on you. However, it does increase your chances of obtaining a green card, and the process is much easier. Nevertheless, the US government will require you to fulfill certain conditions and criteria before you can file for naturalization. You can either obtain a green card through consular processing or adjustment of status, depending on where you are.

The consular processing applies to nonimmigrants married to a US citizen and who are based abroad. On the other hand, the adjustment of status process is for those already residing in the United States. Both categories have to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, while the latter will file Form I-485 alongside I-130. The processing time for the marriage green card application form, I-130, in Los Angeles, California is 10.5 months.

The form will kick off the green card process, which will take between nine and thirty-six months overall. Once the USCIS has approved the petition, the alien spouse will need to prepare for an interview at the US embassy. 

Marriage to a Green Card Holder in Los Angeles, California

Many of the forms that a US citizen’s spouse files and submits also apply to the green card holder’s spouse. The only difference is the timeline, and it is more pronounced in how long it takes to process Form I-130. In Los Angeles, California, the processing time of Form I-130 as of August 2022, is 25.5 months. Noncitizen spouses are not allowed to file concurrently (that is, file Form I-130 alongside Form I-485). 

If the green card holder’s spouse is in the US, they will have to wait until a visa is available to submit I-485. Such must therefore keep their eye on the Visa Bulletin under the F-21 visa category for a priority date. Look for a priority date based on your home country; if you see “current,” it means there’s no need to wait. Meanwhile, the wait time for Form I-485 is the same for citizen and noncitizen spouses, typically between ten and twenty-nine months.

Seeking Legal Counsel in Los Angeles for a Smooth Application Process

With a good understanding of your immigration case, you will be able to understand your green card application timeline. The best chance of this happening is for you to hire an experienced immigration attorney who can help review your case. Herman Legal Group is an award-winning law firm that has helped hundreds of couples and immigrants move to the US.

Reach out to us today so that we can review your immigration case and advise you on accurate processing times. To do that, you can either book online or reach out to us at +1-216-696-6170.


Many stages are involved in the marriage green card process, beginning with filing Form I-130. However, a number of factors can influence the processing time for your application, which can be for good or bad.

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