Permanent Residency

For those who qualify for a green card based on an underlying application.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Petition filed by a qualifying family member.
  • Petition or application granted by the Immigration Court or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Average processing time: 6 months to 2 years, depending on the underlying application.  Immediate Relatives (US citizen’s parents, spouse, and minor children) have no long backlog; all other categories have long backlogs.

Citizenship

For permanent residents who qualify for naturalization in the U.S.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Five years as a permanent resident, or
  • Three years as a permanent resident if the applicant has been married to and residing with a U.S. Citizen spouse.
  • Must prove good moral character, taxes paid for five years, U.S. military registration if required.
  • Very specific residency requirements five or three years prior to applying.
  • Must take a verbal test of U.S. history and government during the required interview with USCIS. Must also demonstrate the basic ability to read, write, and understand English.

Average processing time: 8 to 15 months.

Asylum, Withholding of Removal and Convention Against Torture

For foreign nationals who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted

Qualifications Timeline

  • Fear of persecution on account of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or particular social group.
  • Asylum claims must generally be filed within one year of arrival in the United States. Later claims are for Withholding of Removal.

Average processing time: 3 months to two years for cases filed with the Asylum Office; 1 to 3 years for cases in Immigration Court.

TPS

For foreign nationals from countries designated by the United States, with conditions that temporarily prevent nationals from returning safely.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Foreign nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua Sudan and South Sudan who meet specific criteria.

Average processing time: 9 to 18 months.

DACA

For some individuals who entered the United States without inspection, or fell out of status, as children.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Entered the United States before age 16, and have resided in the US continuously from June 15, 2007 to present.
  • Currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a GED, or have been honorably discharged from the Coast Guard or armed forces.

Average Processing time: 3 to 6 months.

Cancellation of Removal

Process of cancelling the removal of a foreign national who is inadmissible or deportable from the United States

Qualifications Timeline

  • Must already be in Immigration Court proceedings.
  • Ten years continuous physical presence in the United States prior to the issuance of the Notice to Appear (NTA) referring the foreign national to Immigration Court AND good moral character AND a US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, parent or child who would suffer exceptional and unusual hardship if the foreign national were deported.
  • OR Three years continuous physical presence prior to issuance of NTA AND good moral character AND you experienced battery or extreme cruelty by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, child, or parent AND your removal would cause extreme hardship to you, your children or your parents

Average processing time: 1 to 3 years for preliminary approval by Immigration Judge, plus two years for green card to become available.

Waivers

Waivers can excuse inadmissibility due to a deportation order or permanent bar (I-212), unlawful presence in the United States, fraud or other issues (I-601 and I-601A).

Qualifications Timeline

  • I-212 requires a discretionary review of applicant’s favorable and unfavorable factors.
  • I-601 and I-601A require a “qualifying relative,” which may be a US citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent (but NOT child), who would suffer “extreme hardship” if the application is denied. Applicant must warrant favorable exercise of discretion.

Average processing time: I-212: 3 to 6 months; I-601 3 to 6 months; I-601A: 15 to 19 months.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa

For children under age 21, who have been abandoned, neglected or abused by a parent.

Qualifications Timeline

  • A finding from state Family Court Judge that the child was abandoned, neglected or abused by a parent, and it would be in the child’s best interest to stay in the United States and it would NOT be in the child’s best interest to be returned to their home country.
  • An I-360 application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, based on the state court’s finding.

Processing time: State court: 1 to 6 months, USCIS: 3 to 25 months

Affirmative VAWA

For certain foreign nationals abused by their US citizen (USC) or legal permanent resident spouse (LPR), child or parent.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Foreign national suffered battery or extreme cruelty by their USC or LPR spouse, parent or child, has resided with the abusive family member and has good moral character

Processing time: 17 to 22 months.

U visa

For victims of certain crimes which took place in the United States.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Must a victim of qualifying crime in the United States, have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse due to the crime, have been helpful (or will be helpful) to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, and be admissible to the United States.

Processing time: Application involves multiple steps, time from beginning to end can be up to five years.

Work authorization

Allows foreign national to work legally in the United States for a specified period of time.

Qualifications Timeline

  • Must be based on an underlying application such as asylum, cancellation of removal or permanent residency.

Processing time: 3 to 8 months.