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WYRWTK | Episode #18 - Part 2 | How do I Bring My Family to USA as Permanent Resident & How Long Does it Take?


Transcript: Hi, I am Attorney Shaffer. Today on “What You Really Want to Know” we answer the question, “I am a Lawful Permanent Resident or U.S. Citizen, how do I bring my family to US as a Permanent Resident and how long does it take?” (Part 2- The NVC Process)

On our previous episode, we discussed Part 1 of the process, the alien relative petition. Today we take a look at Part 2, the National Visa Center or NVC process.

Once the I-130 Petition is received, you are going to get a receipt notice that looks like this. I am going to put a copy of this on our website at

Form I-130 Receipt Notice

On this receipt notice, in the upper part (here is a blown up portion of it), there is a box that says ‘priority date.’

I-130 Receipt Notice - Priority Date highlighted

Unless you filed for a family member who is considered an ‘Immediate Relative,’ this date is key. This date preserves your family member’s position in line for a visa.

The next step cannot be started until a visa # is available for your relative. “Immediate Relatives” do not have to wait and can start the NVC process as soon as the I-130 Petition is approved.

Processing times for theI-130 Alien Relative Petitions vary. In our experience they take about 6-8 months to get approved.

Once it is approved, the case is transferred to the NVC. If a visa number is immediately available, the NVC will contact you and your family member to begin the next part of the process which includes:

  • paying the affidavit of support and immigrant visa fees;

  • Collecting and submitting all the required civil documents;

  • Fill out the online immigrant visa application, and;

  • You (the petitioner) will file an affidavit of support with supporting documentation and if your income and assets combined are not high enough, you are going to need a joint sponsor to also file an affidavit of support with the supporting financial documentation

Once all of that is done and complete and sent to the NVC, the US embassy/ consulate abroad will notify your family member of when his or her interview will take place and what, if any, other documents, are needed.

If a visa # is not immediately available, then your family member is going to have to wait to start the NVC process. NVC is going to notify you and your family member when the visa # is available. Current wait times range from about 1 year to over 15, almost 20 years depending on your family member’s preference category, and in some cases their country of citizenship.

To get an estimate of how long your family member is going to have to wait, you can go to: and look at the most recent visa bulletin (Click here to go to the most recent visa bulletin). You are going to look for your family member’s preference category, and that is based on his or her relationship to you, and then you are going to go down to the family-sponsored visa application chart. The date that you see in the chart corresponding to the preference category represents the priority date (which I mentioned earlier) of the applications currently being processed. This means that the date on your family member’s receipt notice (the priority date) has to be that day or earlier in time in order for them to begin the NVC process.

Once your family member’s date becomes “current,” the NVC will notify you and your family member to start the NVC process

Within a few months of being notified by NVC, your family member should be able to enter the U.S. with an immigrant visa, and then within 30 days of entering the US, should receive his or her Green Card in the mail.

This is a complex and lengthy process and the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney can ensure that your family member is able to join you in the U.S. quickly and as painlessly as possible.

If you need help filing for your loved one or you are worried that your pending application is taking too long. Contact us today!

That’s all for this episode of “What You Really Want to Know,” thanks for watching!

(Missed Part 1- The Alien Relative Petition? Click here to watch!)

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