Certain family members, such as citizens and permanent residents of the United States, have options to petition the federal government for an immigrant visa, otherwise known as a green card, for relatives. The timeline for these services varies immensely which is why it is imperative to act as soon as possible.
The U.S. Government only authorizes a certain number of family-based visas for immigrants annually. There are years’ worth of backlog in the system due to a high-density rate of applicants. Each petition has its’ own priority level, as does each case. This means that there are some cases that are prioritized higher than others and are thus moved to the top of the government’s family-based visa applicant list. Since the government prioritizes the petitions based off of the three elements (the immigration status of the petitioner themselves, the category of the family member they are petitioning, and what country the family member is from), there are individual wait-times per case. There are special cases within the categories called “immediate relatives” which ultimately have superiority. “Immediate relatives” that qualify for this special service include spouses, unmarried children (under 21 years old), and parents of U.S. Citizens. Once the initial petition has been sent in by the U.S. Citizen and once it is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the “immediate relative” may file an application for the immigrant visa.