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Immigration for Spouses and Children: The Visa Roller-Coaster Ride

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For more than a decade, it has taken about 4 years for most spouses and children of Permanent Residents to immigrate to the United States as green card holders.

For more than a decade, it has taken about 4 years for most spouses and children of Permanent Residents to immigrate to the United States as green card holders. 

The reason for the long wait? 

An “immigrant visa number” must be available. 

This has been taking around 4 years for foreign nationals in this category.  At least, until the summer of 2010.   Around June of this past year, the wait went from 4 years to 2 ½ years.  By August, the wait was down to 1 ½ years.  By December, the wait appeared to be only 4 months for a visa number to become available in this category.  

There was no reasonable explanation for what was happening.  It was truly shocking! 

Unfortunately, in January the visa number roller coaster came to a complete stop and then with more speed than before, took us all back in the direction from where we started.  That’s right—the visa numbers went backwards. (The official term for this is called visa retrogression.)  January and February Visa Numbers for this year show the wait at around 3 years.   And we’ve got a feeling the visa number roller coaster isn’t done with us yet!  

See for yourself by reviewing the Department of State Visa Bulletins for the past year.

As an immigration attorney, I know how confusing the process can be for those who are trying to understand and navigate the sharp twists and turns of the immigration process. I answer client’s questions every day. If you have questions or would like more information on LPRs sponsoring relatives or visa number availability for the various family-based categories don’t hesitate to contact us.

Immigration Process: Could feel like the longest roller coaster ride of your life

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