Now Is the Time for Permanent Residents to Apply for Their Spouses

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Permanent residents who wish to apply for green cards for a spouse should do so soon.
Permanent residents who wish to apply for green cards for a spouse should do so soon.

One of the most stunning, but largely unnoticed developments of the last few months has been the dramatic drop in waiting times for permanent residents hoping to get green cards for their spouses or unmarried children younger than 21 years of age. In the past, a permanent resident could expect a two and a half year wait after applying for their spouse before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services even began processing the visa. Now the wait has gone down to a few weeks.

The shorting of this “line” became noticeable at the beginning of 2013, but by the summer, the line for what are called 2A Family Based Immigration was virtually eliminated. I’ll discuss why the line shortened in a later article, but for now I just want to talk about what permanent residents should do.

Because this “line” could get much longer very quickly, if you are a permanent resident who wants to apply for a spouse or child you should do so immediately. Even waiting a few weeks might add many months or years to the processing of your loved one’s case. If your relative entered the U.S. on a visa and is here already, it is particularly important that you act right away. Your relative may be eligible to remain in the country, but you should not delay.

For more information, contact CARECEN at 516-489-8330 or Catholic Charities at 631-789-5210.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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