Immigration FAQs

mask_00561. How long does it take for my work permit to arrive?

Generally speaking, Applications for Employment Authorization (form I-765) are currently taking approximately three months from the time of filing. Specifically, however, it all depends on the USCIS office processing the application. Once you receive your receipt for your work permit, the first three letters of the Receipt Notice indicates which office is processing your application:

  • NBC = National Benefits Center
  • NSC = Nebraska Service Center
  • WAC = Texas Service Center
  • WAC = California Service Center
  • VSC = Vermont Service Center

To check current processing times at any of these locations, visit the uscis website at, click on “Check your case status” and then scroll down to “USCIS Processing Time Information.” Click and then click again on the “visit page” link. You can then choose the location where your case is being processed and the current processing time report will come up. Scroll down to Form I-765 to pick the type of case you have to see how long that particular office is taking to process these applications. Warning — these charts are sometimes notoriously inaccurate. First, the report is usually about two months behind. Second, you cannot follow up on your case until your case is more than 30 days beyond the processing time noted on the most recent report, whether or not that report is from two months ago. Rule of thumb is to file your application at least four months before you need it.

2. Who can be a cosponsor on an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864)?

A cosponsor must be either a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, and at least 18 years old. To determine whether the cosponsor meets the minimum income requirements, your attorney must review the last three years of federal tax returns and recent paystub of the cosponsor.

3. Does it affect my credit to be a sponsor or cosponsor on an Affidavit of Support (form I-864)?

Although it will not affect your credit, by signing the Affidavit of Support, you are promising the U.S. government that the immigrant you are sponsoring will not become a public charge. In other words, in the even the sponsored immigrant receives public assistance such as food stamps, public housing assistance or Supplemental Social Security Income, the U.S. government may choose to enforce the obligation by requesting monetary reimbursement for the benefits provided. Unemployment compensation, tuition assistance and Medicare/Social Security Retirement Benefits are not considered “public charge” benefits. The obligation terminates once the sponsored immigrant has worked 10 years on their social security number, becomes a U.S. citizen, permanently departs the United States, or dies. Please consult a reputable immigration attorney for more information on sponsor obligations.

4. Can I sponsor more than one person?

The number of people one can sponsor depends entirely on the sponsor’s income and the number of dependents the sponsor has. A reputable immigration attorney will be able to tell you how many people you can sponsor after reviewing your federal tax returns and current salary.

5. When can I become a U.S. citizen?

Generally speaking, you can file your Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) four years and nine months after you are approved for permanent residence status. Permanent residents who are married to and are currently living with their U.S. citizen spouse can apply after two years and nine months. There are exceptions for members of the military and their spouses, and those who are relocating abroad for certain types of occupations. You should consult a reputable immigration attorney if you believe you may qualify under an exception.

6. How long will it take to receive my permanent resident card (or green card)?

For applicants processing their application for permanent residence in the United States, USCIS usually issues the card within a month after approval. For those who appeared for their interview in a U.S. Consulate abroad, USCIS can take up to six months to process the card, but only after the applicant has registered the visa information at and paid the $165.00 fee. To pay this fee visit the uscis website at, click on “File online” and then scroll down to “USCIS Immigrant Fee.” Click “online” and select continue.  Those who have received their immigrant visa abroad and have entered the United States thereafter (as evidenced by the stamp received in their passport at the port of entry), may use that visa as temporary proof of permanent residence status for one year from the date of entry.