Immigrant Visa Wait Times

Overview

Every immigrant visa case is different, so it is difficult to estimate how long the process will take for a specific individual. In general, there are three factors that contribute to the processing time required:

Time Required to Process a Petition

The time it takes for USCIS to approve a petition varies according to the type of petition and the specific USCIS office involved. Estimates for specific USCIS offices are available here.

Time Required to Process through NVC and the Embassy

If your petition is approved by USCIS, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. Once the NVC finishes processing your case, the NVC will work with the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur to schedule an appointment.  The NVC also sends your petitioner and/or the authorized agent an interview appointment letter.  If your petition is a K case, the NVC will forward your file to the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur for scheduling your visa interview.

Time for Case to Become Current

For certain categories of immigrants, the law allows only a limited number of visas to be issued each year. These cases are processed strictly in order of the date the petition was filed (this is the priority date). Visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached (the application becomes current). This could take several years. While it is impossible to say exactly how long it will take, the Visa Bulletin, published monthly, lists the priority dates currently being processed, which may provide an indication of how much time remains.

Note: When the petitioner naturalizes, all F2A petitions (spouse or minor child of a permanent resident) are automatically converted to IR1 (spouse of an American) or IR2 (child of an American) petitions. These visa categories are not subject to the visa quota system and will, therefore, always have visas available for the beneficiaries' use if they qualify for visa issuance. Contact the USCIS for more information.

While unmarried children under the age of 21 may qualify for derivative immigration benefits on the same I-130 petition that was filed for the spouse, it is highly recommended that separate I-130s be filed for each member of the family, to ensure that the children will maintain their eligibility for immigration benefits in the event that the petitioner naturalizes as a U.S. citizen before the visas are issued.  When the petitioner of an F2A application naturalizes, derivative beneficiaries do not continue to derive immigration benefits, since the IR1 visa class does not allow for the inclusion of derivative beneficiaries.

The eligibility of an applicant for benefits under the aging-out provisions of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)  will be determined only at the time a visa application is adjudicated by a consular officer.