How Long Does It Take to Petition a Married Son for a U.S. Immigrant Visa?

How long does it take to petition a married son or daughter for a visa? Find out the details here from the most trusted Austin immigration attorney



The third priority for family-based immigration is designated for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older. A legal resident or a green card holder may also sponsor their son’s or daughter’s green card application under this category. 

However, because only 23,400 visas are issued each year, there is always a lengthy waiting list for this preferred group. While the actual waiting time varies from year to year, applicants in this category may anticipate waiting 9-10 years after filing the original petition to acquire their visa from the National Visa Center. Individuals applying from some countries, including Mexico, the Dominican Republic, China, the Philippines, and India, may wait longer.

How Long Does It Take to File a Petition to Bring Married Sons to Live in the U.S.?

Depending on the petitioner/beneficiary connection, the time it takes to gain permission on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, might vary dramatically.

Estimating I-130 processing timeframes might be challenging. However, understanding the distinction between direct relative and family preference categories and the fundamentals of family-based immigration in the United States is tremendously beneficial.

There is an infinite number of immigrant visas available for direct relations (spouse, children, and parents) of U.S. citizens, and authorization could be achieved in 5 to 9 months. Since there is no visa limit for the immediate relative category, there is a short wait.

For all other categories, the time frame for receiving Form I-130 approval might be much longer. Some categories may have a time limit of 5 months, while others may have a time limit of many years. The number of immigrant visa numbers available each year for the family preference categories is limited by law in the United States. The backlog causes the wait.


The I-130 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is processed on a first-come, first-served basis within each category by USCIS. As a result, it is critical to create a priority date and get on this waitlist as soon as possible. The petitioner must submit a well-prepared Form I-130 packet devoid of mistakes and inconsistencies. 

After filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, the approval procedure for an immediate relative can take 5 to 12 months and may take several years for family preference categories. This is a rough estimate.

For some, it may be shorter, while for others, it may be longer. Don’t forget that you may monitor the status of your case online using your receipt number. Regular processing periods for an I-130 petition are also listed on the USCIS website. If you feel your case is taking longer than the standard I-130 processing period, you can file a case inquiry. Your lawyer may also assist you with this.

If you require a visa lawyer to provide legal advice for your immigration matters, do not hesitate to contact us at (512) 215-4407!

How Long Does the I-130 Petition Process Take?

The I-130 petition will be reviewed for completeness by USCIS after receiving it. If a component is missing, USCIS may either return the complete package to the U.S. petitioner or issue a letter (Request for Evidence, or RFE) requesting the missing component.

This can be a problem, primarily if you have already delivered USCIS what it is requesting, but the processing facility has misplaced it (not uncommon). If the item in question is simply a copy of a document, simply recopy it and send it in as directed. However, if USCIS misplaced a check you made to pay the application cost, you may have to reject the check and write a different one, hoping that USCIS does not rediscover and attempt to cash the previous one! (This occurs all the time.)


The processing period for your I-130 petition will be determined by the familial relationship and the USCIS field office where your form is received. Processing timeframes for Form I-130 for direct relations (spouse, parent, or unmarried child) of a U.S. green card holder (lawful permanent resident) now range between 13.5 and 19 months.

I-130 processing timeframes for direct relatives of a U.S. citizen presently range from 15 to 20 months (as of June 7, 2021). Processing durations for family preference visas (for example, siblings) might range from 13.5 months to 20 or more years. The earlier you begin working on your I-130 application, the better.

Form I-103: The Purpose

If a legal United States citizen wants to retain an alien relative, he/she may need to fill the Form I-103, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Who May File Form I-103?

If you are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S, you may file the form I-103 for

  • Your spouse.
  • Your unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • Your married sons and daughters of any age.
  • Your brothers and sisters if you are 21 years of age or older.
  • Your parents, if you are 21 years of age or older.

You May Not File Form I-103 If…

You may not file the form if your relative, for whom you are filing the petition, falls in the following categories:

  • An adopted parent or child if the adoption took place when the child is 16 years or old or if the child hasn’t lived with the parents for two years before filing.
  • A step-parent or stepchild, if the second marriage took place when the child is of 18 years of age.
  • A spouse, if you and your spouse both weren’t physically present at the time of marriage ceremony (and can’t provide marriage certificate))

And many other specific cases. Please refer to this document for further assistance.

General Instructions of Filing Form I-103

To file the petition, there are some instructions you must know before you begin the process. You can find the form free of charge on the USCIS website. You can also get the form via mail by calling the National Customer Service Center of USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.

1- Signature

You are required to sign each petition carefully and properly. You can not use a stamp or typewritten name in place of a signature. For a mentally incompetent person, a legal guardian may also need to sign.

2- Filing Fee

The filing fee for Form I-103 is $535. You are required to pay this fee in U.S. currency, and your check must be drawn from a United States bank payable to the United States Department of Homeland Security. Make sure you mention the name properly instead of using its initials.

3- Biometric Service Fee

If you are submitting this form with USCIS, you won’t need to include a biometric service fee at the time of petition submission. You will receive a notice of biometric appointment to submit biometrics with instructions on how to submit the biometric fee.

4- Evidence

When submitting the form, you must include all necessary documents and evidence about you being a lawful resident of the United States. If you file without enough evidence, the USCIS may issue a Denial Notice for petitions filed without the required supporting documents. You will need a copy of your child’s birth certificate issued by civil authorities, documents of legal permanent residence, and some other documents.


The family-based green card is one of the most common methods to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Despite its popularity, the procedure is neither as simple nor as quick as many people believe it. This is due to a yearly restriction on the number of green cards issued in the United States.

Two hundred twenty-six thousand family-based green cards are granted to applicants from various nations each year. While this may appear to be a considerable amount, the number of applicants seeking a green card each year is frequently substantially greater.

This numerical cap, among other things, explains why some people apply for and receive their green card within a year or two, while others may have to wait a couple of years, if not decades. This is essentially determined by each applicant’s preference level for family-based green cards.

Independent of the relationship between the sponsor (the U.S. citizen or green card holder family member) and the beneficiary (the individual seeking the green card), the process of obtaining a family-based green card entails the following steps:

  • Fill out Form I-130 (“Petition for Alien Relative”) to demonstrate the familial tie.
  • If the recipient is in the United States, complete Form I-485 (“Application for Adjustment of Status“).
  • If the recipient is not in the United States, complete Form DS-260 (“Immigrant Visa Application”).

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens would be eligible to get an immigrant visa number right away. The length of time between completing the family relationship form and applying for the green card is the most important element in determining how long it takes to receive a green card. Nothing written here should be interpreted as legal advice for any specific case or scenario.

For further legal assistance, it is best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.


Timeline from start to finish:

  • 14-16 years for most immigrants.
  • 16+ years for Indian nationals.
  • 20+ years for Mexican citizens.
  • 24+ years for Filipino citizens.

Except for spouses, parents, and minor children of U.S. citizens, there are annual restrictions on the number of persons entering the United States under all family-based green card categories. Everyone else is forced to wait in line for a green card. Read the Visa Bulletin reference page for additional information on how this system works and monitor your position in line.

If you want to learn more about how to become a lawful permanent resident, immigrant visa, or what your married sons and daughters are entitled to, and what it means for your immigration process, contact the Law Office of Michael G. Murray, P.A, at (512) 215-4407! The proper naturalization & citizenship lawyer can turn the tides for you and your immediate relatives. 

With over 15 years of experience in immigration law and hundreds of complex green card cases won before USCIS, our law firm is ready at any time to take your case, create a perfect attorney-client relationship, and fight for your family’s unification!