I-130 Petition Approval Time
The expected waiting time for the approval of an I-130 for a spouse of a United States citizen is five months. The waiting time for an I-130 for a spouse of a permanent resident is often longer. This processing time could go faster or slower depending on how many applications USCIS receives. In addition, if your application is not complete or not organized in a way that makes it easy for the immigration officer to review, you may receive a request for evidence (RFE) asking you for additional information. An RFE will slow down the approval process. Therefore it is very important that you include all of the required information in a well-organized fashion in your initial submission.
National Visa Center Processing Time
If you are a United States citizen, the I-130 petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center after it is approved. If you are a permanent resident, however, you will not be able to begin the processing at the National Visa Center until a visa number becomes available. The Visa Bulletin is updated monthly and can provide you with an estimate of when a visa number will become available.
The amount of time that your package spends at the National Visa Center will depend largely on how quickly you can obtain and submit the required documents. After all of the documents are received by the National Visa Center, an immigrant visa interview will be scheduled.
Immigrant Visa Interview Waiting Time
The time it takes to receive an interview will largely depend on which embassy or consulate the interview will be at. Some locations have a larger backlog and it will take longer to receive an appointment at those locations. You should expect to wait at least one month for your scheduled interview date, and it may be a considerably longer wait.
Total Time To Receive An Immigrant Visa
Overall, you should expect that it will take between 8 months to one year to receive an immigrant visa based on marriage to a United States citizen, and it may take over a year. The wait could be considerably longer if you receive a request for evidence or you have difficulty in obtaining the required documents. Spouses of permanent residents will typically have an even longer wait because they must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.