Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Immigration Corner | A question of time

Published:Tuesday | February 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I would like to find out, based on your knowledge, is the processing time for the I-130 form the same for both US citizens and legal permanent residents when filing for a spouse?

I know the overall processing time is different, but I would like to know if the delay is at the National Visa Center.


- O.W.

Dear O.W.,

The processing of the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative depends on the service centre processing the application. The service centres cover different regions of the United States, and which one a person uses is based on where the petitioner resides. There are five service centres in the United States and they all have various waiting times for the different petitions/applications to be processed.

For example, the Texas service centre is currently processing the I-130s for both United States citizens and permanent resident petitioners that were filed before July 4, 2016. Once the I-130 is approved, regardless of the filing category, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC).

In the category of a US citizen filing for a spouse, the consular processing of the petition can continue at the NVC because the visa is immediately available. In the case of a permanent resident filing for a spouse - that petition is the F2A preference category - the beneficiary has to wait until a visa becomes available. That waiting period is approximately two years for a visa.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal, and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator, and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.