The USCIS awards green cards to the immediate relatives and family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. The marriage green card is considered a special green card and typically takes a certain amount of time to process. The time it takes for a marriage-based green card to be processed depends on the peculiarity, if any, of the case.

In general, certain factors can affect the processing of the green card process, including where and when you file. Keep reading for information on how long each process in the green card application will take.

If You’re Married to a US Citizen

The marriage green card process for spouses of US citizens depends on whether they are living in the US or outside.

If the spouse is living in the US,

They will be filing an adjustment of status application with their green card application. This adjustment of the application takes ten to thirteen months, covering two broad steps.

First, the US citizen files the marriage green card application on behalf of the spouse. Once approved, the alien spouse will be scheduled for and take a green card interview. To start the green card application process, both spouses have to establish their marriage relationship by filing Form I-130. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is filed with form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Both forms will be submitted at the same time along with the required supporting documents like your marriage certificate. The processing time for these two immigration forms is typically nine to eleven months. Furthermore, the citizen spouse will file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, on behalf of their foreign spouse.

Meanwhile, there is a biometrics appointment, which the alien spouse will attend two to three weeks after submitting the application. Also, a visa interview will be scheduled; this usually happens between seven to fifteen months after submitting the green card application.

If the spouse is outside the US,

The application process takes between eleven to seventeen months, spanning four broad steps. First, the citizen or LPR spouse files Form I-130 on behalf of the alien spouse along with certain supporting documents. This part of the application typically takes about seven to ten months; you’ll be getting notices through the process.

Once the USCIS is satisfied with your I-130, it will forward our immigration case to the National Visa Center. NVC officials will use the necessary forms and documents to determine the interview process for the applicant at the US consulate.

The entire NVC process takes three to five months, after which it sends the documents to the alien’s country’s US embassy. Your immigration case will be issued a number; once the embassy receives this number, they notify the alien spouse.

The notice will be for the applicant to file the online Form DS-261, Online Choice of Address and Agent. The applicant will file this form with the State Department, and the processing time is usually about three weeks. After filing the DS-261, they will file the DS-260, which is the actual application for a marriage green card. Once the embassy submits your DS-260, the NVC will notify you that they have received it.

Before your marriage interview, you have to see a doctor for a medical examination; the doctor must be State Department-approved. Once that’s done, you will await your green card interview, which is one of the final steps in the process.

If You’re Married to a Green Card Holder

The marriage green card process takes twenty-three to thirty-two months for spouses of permanent residents. First, they will establish their relationship with Form I-130, which takes seven to ten months.

Then, the spouse will wait for a priority date, which can take another eight to ten months. Once there is a priority date, the State Department will receive your petition and process it within three weeks.

Next, you will submit the required supporting documents with your Form DS-260; this process takes two to three months for approval. Then, within one to two months, you will be contacted for an interview, which will also take one to two months.

Finding a Lawyer in Pennsylvania: Herman Legal Group Can Help

Regardless of what stage your marriage green card application is, working with an experienced immigration attorney is always a good idea. At Herman Legal Group, we have a team of qualified, expert, and experienced immigration lawyers who can help your case. We understand how complex and time-consuming the green card application can be. Thus, we help ensure there are no other factors that can delay your application any further.

We have offices all around the US, so you can find us in Pennsylvania as well. You can book a consultation online with us or contact us at +1-216-696-6170 to get started.


One of the biggest factors that affect the green card process time is who is sponsoring the immigrant. The relative or spouse of the US citizen gets more preference, thus, the green card process takes a shorter time. Nevertheless, it would typically take ten to thirty-eight months to obtain a marriage green card.

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