Required Time In The U.S For An Immigrant To Receive A Green Card

Whether you are eager to stay in Texas or any other state permanently as a US citizen with a green card, you must be subjected to a waiting period. If you are already an immigrant in the US in need of a Green Card, you will be subjected to a special process known as Adjustment of Status.

This process involves using your presence in America as a student, tourist, etc., as a basis for applying for a Green Card. Adjustment of Status gives immigrant an avenue to apply for a Green Card without being forced to return to their home country to go through visa processing again.

You can apply for Adjustment of Status immediately when present in the US if you meet the eligibility requirements. However, it takes time to establish eligibility for a green card.


The process starts when a permanent resident or US citizen files Form: I-130 on behalf of the immigrant. The person filing needs to have a relationship that is qualifying i.e., be a relative (daughter, son, spouse, fiancé(e), brother, sister, etc.).

Immigrants also need to meet basic requirements like being physically present in America via lawful entry. It’s worth noting that lawful entry means you entered the US using valid documentation. Entry is still considered lawful even if a visa has expired. Immigrants that satisfy eligibility requirements can file Form-I-485.

Adjustment of Status Timelines

Most Reviewed Immigration Attorneys In Austin TXWhile time will vary, it takes 8-14 months on average for the entire Adjustment of Status to be completed.

After filling, the USCIS responds in 2-3 weeks via mail to acknowledge they have received Form I-485. The application may be rejected, or a request is placed for further evidence if there is a need for more information. This will delay the process.

The notice of biometrics is sent 3-5 weeks after filling. This notice requires applicants to honor a biometrics appointment specifying appointment date, location, and time. Appointments generally take place at the nearest USCIS Center near you. The actual appointment should take three weeks. The entire process is usually done eight weeks after filling.

Immigrants are required to sit for an interview before getting a Green Card. A notice of interview is sent 4-10 weeks after filling. In some cases, interviews can be waived. An immigrant’s special circumstances will dictate the presence or absence of an interview. Interviews take place 6-12 months after filling.

Immigrants who file for employment authorization alongside Adjustment of Status receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document or work permit) in 12-16 weeks after filling.

You can receive permanent residence 8-14 months after your interview or shortly thereafter via mail from the USCIS. If Adjustment of Status isn’t approved, you will get a notification.

Once you get a Green Card, you don’t need a work permit (EAD card). You have the right to travel in/out of the US and return freely.

Summary: How Long Does an Immigrant Have to be in The US to Receive a Green Card?

Receiving a Green Card is heavily dependent on eligibility and following due process as opposed simply to how long you have been in the US.

It is possible to check the status of your Adjustment of Status online using your receipt number. The USCIS site also offers timelines on processing time. If your case takes longer than normal, it is possible to inquire.

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