How long is the entire immigrant visa process?

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The issuance of an immigrant visa requires processing by the USCIS, NVC and United States embassy or consulate. Assuming the petitioner is a U.S. citizen, the NVC performs a background check of your foreign spouse, collects immigrant visa and affidavit of support fees and documents, processes the immigrant visa application and provides instruction regarding the interview and the required medical examination as quickly as administratively possible. After processing is complete, the NVC schedules an interview and forwards the petition, immigrant visa application and documents to the United States embassy or consulate nearest your foreign spouse’s foreign residence. The USCIS and United States embassy or consulate processing times vary depending on where the petitioner resides in the United States and the country of residence of the foreign spouse. The typical immigrant visa processing time is 7 to 10 months. If the petitioner is a permanent resident (as opposed to a U.S. citizen) then the marriage petition will remain at the NVC until an immigrant visa number becomes available. As such, the processing time can be years.