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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > Immigration > How Long is a Family Petition I-130 Taking and What is the Process Like?

How Long is a Family Petition I-130 Taking and What is the Process Like?


Many people immigrate to the United States for family reasons. They want their close family members to all be together without having to constantly travel from one country to another.

To get your family member to America, you’ll need to follow the process for a family visa. This process starts with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. To get a green card based on marriage, you will need to submit the I-130 along with supporting documentation to prove that your marriage is real..

Filing the I-130 petition also establishes your place in line for an available green card. A spouse, parent, or unmarried child (under age 21) of a U.S. citizen will get to skip the line entirely. Otherwise, your place in line is determined by the date that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your I-130 petition.

Wait times can vary, but typically exceed one year. For immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, such as a spouse, parent, or unmarried child under age 21, the wait time averages 13.5-15 months. For those living in the United States, the processing time is currently 13.5-20.5 months.

For immediate relatives of a U.S. green card holder, the time to process Form I-130 can be between 33-37 months, or roughly three years.

Here  are a few strategies you can use to try to expedite your I-130:

  • Apply as soon as you can.
  • Submit a strong application the first time.
  • File an expedite request with USCIS
  • Stay in touch with USCIS. You can check the status of your petition online or by calling USCIS.

Who Can File a Petition and for Whom?

U.S. citizens can file I-130 petitions for their spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Green card holders can file I-130 petitions for their spouses and unmarried children.

You cannot file an I-130 to sponsor any of the following relatives:

  • A grandparent, grandchild, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, cousin, or in-law
  • An adopted child, if the child was adopted after turning 16 years old
  • A biological parent, if you became a green card holder or U.S. citizen through adoption
  • A stepparent or stepchild, if the marriage occurred after the child turned 18 years old
  • A spouse, if you and your spouse were not both physically present at the wedding
  • Any person that you married purely for immigration purposes

The price to file Form I-130 is currently $535, although this price could increase to $820 in late 2024. The payment submitted to the government is not refundable, even if your petition is denied.

Contact Us Today 

Having your entire family in the United States with you can be exciting as an immigrant, but it’s not easy. There’s a lot to know about the process.

 Count on the Houston immigration lawyers at BBA Immigration to guide you through the process with ease. Our skilled attorneys will help you fill out the appropriate forms timely and accurately. Fill out the online form or call (281) 503-1455 to schedule a consultation.

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