Processing Time for Permanent Resident Filing for a Child Under 21


What is the processing time for a permanent resident filing for your child? The amount of time it takes to get approved on the I-130 form (petition for an alien relative) varies significantly according to the relationship between the beneficiary and petitioner among other factors.

For immediate relatives, the general waiting period is between five and nine months. But keep in mind that the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) doesn’t give a specific amount of time it will take. And there are always complicating factors that can slow down the process. If you’re stuck on an immigration question, seeking a lawyer’s advice can be invaluable.

What to Consider When Petitioning Immediate Relatives

  • An unlimited number of visas are given out each year by U.S. immigration to immediate family members of American citizens
  • Estimating the waiting period for the I-130 form is very difficult, but it generally takes less than a year without complicating factors
  • Failing to respond to a request for further evidence or long processing times for a security check can delay your application
  • Even a small mistake on your application can lead to costly rejections or delays, so consulting an attorney is advisable

An unlimited number of visas are given to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens each year. This includes spouses, unmarried children who are younger than 21, orphans adopted (or to be adopted) by American citizens, and parents of American citizens who are 21 or older. A limited number of visas are given each year to other family members, including the children of U.S. citizens who are older than 21 and siblings of U.S. citizens.

Factors that can Delay Immigration Cases

If you’re in the process of applying for immigration benefits, you might have noticed that it involves a lot of waiting. There are a number of reasons why your application might be delayed, including the following:

Your Mail Went to the Wrong Address

If you already filed an application with USCIS and haven’t heard back in a long time, it may be that the mail you’re waiting on went to the wrong address. If you’ve recently moved and forgot to update your address with the relevant office, they may have sent your mail to the old address on file. USCIS legally requires all immigrants to notify them of address changes, which you can do using their Change of Address service online.

Keep in mind that sending USCIS notification of your new address doesn’t always mean that they will notify the specific office responsible for your file. You may have to submit a change of address notification to each office handling your immigration case. If you believe that the delay you’re experiencing is from changing your address, contact the relevant office to let them know.

You Ignored a Request for Evidence

If USCIS isn’t able to approve your application based on what you sent them, you may receive an RFE (Request for Evidence) from the agency. It’s imperative that you gather the evidence asked for and return it as soon as you can. If you send the evidence in later than requested or ignore the request, it will cause a delay and you may need to speak with an immigration attorney.

Security Check Delays

If your immigration application required you to submit biometrics (fingerprints), this information will be sent to security agencies for a criminal and immigration record check. This process can take weeks or even months, especially if your name is common or there is extensive information that must be reviewed.

A number of other factors can also cause a delay with your application, such as filling out the wrong information on your forms by accident. You can check processing times on the USCIS website.

How Working With an Attorney Can Help

Immigration attorneys have in-depth information and knowledge of the documents and procedures required to obtain benefits. They’ve worked with many cases similar to yours and can, therefore, answer your specific questions and give advice on the best steps to take. While working with a lawyer won’t necessarily speed the process up, it will prevent you from making simple mistakes that could slow it down.

FAQ on Permanent U.S. Residency and Immigration

Here are some frequently asked questions related to attaining permanent residency for your child and related immigration concerns:

Q: Do I have to have a residence in the United States before my child can get an immigrant visa?

As the petitioner, you must have a residence (also called a “domicile”) in the U.S. before your child can get an immigrant visa.

Q: How old does the petitioner have to be?

There isn’t a minimum age requirement for petitioning for your relative to come to the United States. But you must be at least 18 and have a U.S. domicile before you can legally sign an Affidavit of Support, which is a requirement.

Q: Will my filing fees be refunded if the application was denied?

Unfortunately, you won’t get a refund after a denial. Some situations warrant a refund, however, including a form being processed with a higher fee than was required, or the USCIS mistakenly having you fill out a form that you didn’t need.

Q: How long are green cards valid?

When the USCIS first issues a green card, it will likely be valid for a 2-year period. After this period passes, as long as you haven’t been convicted of a crime and your eligibility status is intact, you can fill out the application for a permanent residence visa that lasts 10 years.

What to Do if You Need Help with Immigration Questions

Whether you’re getting a green card, visa, or just want to bring your child to join you in the United States, immigration can be stressful. Leaving out a small detail on your application can cause delays that last months. Working with a skilled immigration attorney is a great way to make sure you’ve filled out the application right and that there aren’t any other obstacles to consider.

Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 to discuss your case today.

Schedule Your Consultation / Programe su Consulta

Call our Immigration team at (480) 626-2388 or fill out the contact form to discuss your case today.

Llame a nuestro equipo de leyes de inmigración al (480) 626-2388 para hablar sobre su caso hoy.