It is critical to understand the process and timelines involved when applying for a work visa and green card in the United States. Depending on the type of employment-based green card application being submitted, processing times can vary.
One of the employment-based categories is known as EB-2, which covers people with advanced degrees, exceptional talents, or skills in a certain area. To obtain this type of green card, you will first need to file a PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) application with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The average PERM application processing time for an EB-2 green card is approximately 6–9 months from filing it with the DOL until a decision is made on whether to approve or deny the labor certification. In some cases, there may be delays due to backlogs at specific regional centers or due to requests by USCIS Immigration Officers, such as audits or investigation requests. It can take longer depending on the volume of applications received by the Department of Labor. Once the PERM certification has been approved, you can file your I-140 visa petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which can take an additional 15 days to 6+ months.
Overall, given that both the DOL and USCIS processing times are involved, an EB-2 visa typically takes over 12 months from start to finish. It is important to note that timelines may vary depending on individual cases and circumstances. Therefore, if you plan on applying for this type of visa, it is best to consult with a qualified DC-based immigration lawyer who can provide more accurate timelines and advice. This will help ensure that your visa application is processed in the most efficient manner possible.
In addition, you should understand that some PERM applications may be subject to additional processing times due to a backlog at the DOL or other factors. It is important to remember that you can contact your immigration lawyer or caseworker if you have any questions or concerns regarding the processing time of your application. They will be able to provide more detailed information about the status of your application and the estimated time frame for completion. After the PERM and I-140 is approved, you will have to wait for your priority date to become current before you can apply for the green card. For many countries, this will not be a long wait time, but for countries like China and India who have historically had longer backlogs, the wait could be many years.
Finally, it is worth noting that there are other ways in which you can speed up the process of obtaining an EB-2 visa. For instance, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) or apply for premium processing for your application. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can help you determine if either of these options is a viable one for you.
In conclusion, the processing time involved in obtaining an EB-2 visa typically takes over 1 year. However, it is important to keep in mind that additional processing times may occur due to backlogs or other factors outside your control.
If you have questions relating to immigration, we would be happy to review your case, guide you through the necessary legal procedures, and answer any questions you may have regarding your application.
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