It is critical to understand the process and timelines involved when applying for a 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 6–9 months at minimum 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 if filed under premium processing, or over 8 months.
If you are filing for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card, then the PERM stage is not required and you can directly file Form I-140.
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.
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.