How Long does It Take to Get a Visa?

How Long Does It Take to Get a Visa
visa, proceing, immigration, form, long, time, application, months, nonimmigrant, petition

How long it takes to get a visa will depend on the type of visa you apply for. Processing time can range from a few weeks to several months to more than a year. An Orlando immigration lawyer with our firm can assist you with filing for a U.S. visa and help you avoid common pitfalls that could delay your application. 

Average Processing Times for U.S. Visas

Obtaining an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa to live or work in the United States can take time. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the 2023 median processing times for common visa applications and petitions are as follows:

  • Nonimmigrant worker petitions (Form I-129): 2.5 months
  • Immigrant worker petitions (Form 1-140): 4.3 months
  • Petition for an immediate relative (Form I-130): 11.8 months
  • Petition for alien fiancé(e) (Form I-129F): 13.9 months

The above processing times are not deadlines. It could take more or less time to get your visa, depending on factors unique to you and your situation. 

To consult with an experienced immigration lawyer today, call 855-780-9986

Why does It Take So Long to Get a U.S. Visa? 

Applying for a visa involves many steps, so completing them can take time. First, you (or your family member or employer) must identify, fill out, and file the correct forms along with other necessary documents. You must also pay the required fees. Second, you must make and attend various appointments, including a medical examination and visa interview. Finally, you must wait for processing. 

The high demand to enter the U.S. and the backlog the COVID-19 pandemic created also contribute to the time it takes to get a visa. According to the U.S. Department of State, there can be at least a three-month wait to get an interview appointment with the National Visa Center (NVC). 

Is There a Way to Speed Up the Process? 

There are several ways to speed up how long it takes to get a visa. According to USCIS, you can pay a premium processing fee for these immigration applications:

  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

With premium processing, most work visa petitions receive processing within 15 days, although some may take 30 to 45 days. 

In addition, you can make an expedite request with USCIS for the following reasons:

  • Your absence would cause severe financial loss to a company or person (if you do not need an expedition because you failed to file your application or respond to a request for additional evidence promptly).
  • Emergency and urgent humanitarian reasons.
  • The petitioner is a nonprofit organization making the request in furtherance of the cultural or social interests of the U.S.
  • An expedition is in the best interests of the U.S. government.
  • The USCIS made an error.

Finally, application errors will delay processing, so complete your petition correctly the first time and file it promptly. 

How Long does a U.S. Visa Last? 

Your visa expiration date indicates how long you have to present yourself at a U.S. port of entry. It does not tell you how long you can reside in the United States. Once you present it at a port and an immigration official allows you entry, they will mark your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 with your admitted-until date. 

Different nonimmigrant visa categories allow you to stay in the country for varying lengths of time. For example, an H-1B work visa lets you stay for three years, with the possibility of a three-year extension. An H-2A or H-2B visa for seasonal/temporary work lasts 12 months, with the ability to extend your stay to three years. 

Immigrant visa holders intend to relocate to the U.S. and obtain a Green Card and Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. You usually have six months from visa issuance to travel to the U.S. and begin this process.

What If Your Visa Expires? 

If your admitted-until date expires, you are in violation of U.S. immigration law. Your visa generally becomes voided or canceled, and you could face deportation and lose your right to return to the United States. 

You can seek an extension for many types of visas. However, you should begin this process long before your visa expires. If you wish to remain permanently in the country, you can file to change your nonimmigrant visa to an immigrant visa and apply for a Green Card. 

An immigration attorney with our firm can review your case to determine if you qualify for an extension or permanent residency and assist you with forms, filings, paperwork, and fees. 

Click to contact our Florida Attorneys today

How Can an Immigration Attorney Help You Get a Visa? 

The U.S. immigration system is complicated, and the laws are constantly changing. It can be difficult to know what steps to take to get a visa and how to make the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. 

Our law firm has over 40 years of legal knowledge and resources we can use to guide you. We will do the following to assist with securing your visa:

  • Identify the visa you qualify for and help you correctly complete and file the appropriate forms.
  • Review your application to ensure you have not made an error that could delay receiving your visa.
  • Help you request premium processing or expedition of your petition.
  • Explain filing deadlines and visa application fees.
  • Help you prepare for your immigration interviews.
  • Help you apply for a Green Card and become an LPR if desired.
  • Investigate undue application processing delays.
  • Appeal denied visa applications.
  • Answer your immigration questions and provide you with frequent and timely updates. 

Submit a Consultation Request form today

Call Bogin, Munns & Munns for Help With Your Getting a U.S. Visa

If you or a loved one is a visa applicant, call Bogin, Munns & Munns for a free consultation with our immigration lawyers. We can tell you more about how long it may take to get your visa, whether it requires additional time, and how we can help you every step of the way.

Visa processing times can vary depending on the case, so we encourage you to contact us soon so we can get started on your application form.

Call or text 855-780-9986 or submit our Consultation Request form today



Request a Consultation

Request a consultation by filling out the form below, or call us at 855.780.9986. We have over a dozen offices located in Orlando and across Central Florida. We’re happy to answer any of your questions.