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A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding the Process After Form I-130 is Approved

How long does it take to get Form I-130 approved?

The processing time for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary significantly depending on factors such as the USCIS Service Center processing the petition, the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, the petitioner’s citizenship status, and any potential delays or issues in the application.

At that time, USCIS provided estimated processing times for Form I-130 on their website. These processing times were categorized based on the USCIS Service Center where the petition was filed. Generally, USCIS processing times for Form I-130 could range from a few months to over a year.

However, it’s important to note that processing times can change over time due to various factors, including changes in USCIS workload, staffing, and policy changes. Therefore, it’s recommended to visit the USCIS website to check the most up-to-date processing times for Form I-130 based on the specific USCIS Service Center handling your case.

If you’ve filed Form I-130 and are waiting for approval, you can track the status of your case by using the USCIS online case status tool or by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center. Additionally, if you’re experiencing significant delays or have concerns about your case, you may want to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance.

What to do after Form I-130 is approved?

After your Form I-130 is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the next steps will depend on your specific situation and whether the beneficiary is in the U.S. or abroad. Here’s what generally happens after Form I-130 is approved:

  • For Beneficiary in the U.S.:
    If the beneficiary is already in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status to a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you can proceed with the following steps:
    File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status:

    • The beneficiary (and eligible dependents) can file Form I-485 with USCIS to apply for adjustment of status. This form allows them to become a lawful permanent resident without leaving the U.S.
  • Biometrics Appointment:
    • After filing Form I-485, USCIS will schedule a biometrics appointment for the beneficiary to provide fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
  • Attend Adjustment of Status Interview (if applicable):
    • USCIS may schedule an interview to verify the relationship and eligibility. Both the petitioner and beneficiary might need to attend.
  • Receive Work and Travel Authorization (Optional):
    • While waiting for the green card application to be processed, the beneficiary can apply for work authorization (Form I-765) and travel document (Form I-131) to temporarily work and travel.
  • For Beneficiary Abroad:
    If the beneficiary is outside the U.S., the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing before they can receive an immigrant visa and travel to the U.S. Here are the general steps:
    National Visa Center (NVC) Processing:

    • The NVC will contact you with instructions on submitting necessary forms, fees, and supporting documents.
  • Choice of Agent and Payment of Fees:
    • You’ll need to select an agent, typically the petitioner, and pay required fees.
  • Submit Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and Supporting Documents:
    • You’ll submit the Affidavit of Support and supporting documentation to demonstrate financial ability to support the beneficiary.
  • Complete Form DS-260 and Gather Documents:
    • The beneficiary will need to complete Form DS-260 and gather necessary documents for the consular interview.
  • Consular Interview:
    • The beneficiary attends an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
  • Receive Immigrant Visa and Travel to the U.S.:
    • If the visa is approved, the beneficiary will receive an immigrant visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the U.S. and apply for a green card.

These steps provide a general outline of what happens after Form I-130 is approved. The specific steps and timing can vary based on individual circumstances, immigration category, and USCIS procedures. Always follow the instructions provided by USCIS or the National Visa Center (NVC) to ensure a smooth and successful process. If you have any questions or concerns, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can be beneficial.

After I-130 is Approved, How Long Does it Take?

After the I-130 petition is approved, the processing time for the next steps can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of visa or immigration benefit being sought, the applicant’s country of origin, the backlog of applications at the relevant U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or U.S. Department of State (DOS) office, and any potential complications in the case.

Here’s a general overview of the typical timeline for some common visa categories after the I-130 petition is approved:

  • Immediate Relative Visa (IR-1, CR-1): These are visas for spouses of U.S. citizens. After the I-130 approval, the case is usually transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), where additional forms and documents are processed. The NVC will then forward the case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the beneficiary’s home country for visa processing. The time between I-130 approval and visa issuance can vary, but it might take several months to a year or more.
  • Family Preference Visas (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, F4): These visas are for certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The timeline can vary significantly based on the specific preference category, the beneficiary’s relationship to the petitioner, and the applicant’s country of origin. Priority dates (the date the I-130 petition was filed) play a role in determining when the visa will become available.
  • K-1 Fianc√©(e) Visa: After the I-130 petition is approved, the case is forwarded to the DOS and the beneficiary will apply for a K-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The processing time can vary, but it often takes several months for the visa to be issued.
  • Adjustment of Status (Form I-485): If the beneficiary is already in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status, the I-130 approval is followed by the submission of Form I-485 to USCIS. The processing time for an adjustment of status application can also vary, but it might take several months to a year or more, depending on USCIS processing times and any potential complications.

It’s important to note that processing times can change due to factors such as changes in immigration policies, government backlogs, and staffing levels at USCIS and DOS offices. You can check the USCIS website or the U.S. Embassy/Consulate website in the beneficiary’s home country for more specific and up-to-date information on processing times.

Additionally, if you’re looking for more personalized information regarding your specific case, it’s recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or reach out to the relevant government agency for the most accurate and current information.

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