Which State Has Fastest Green Card Approval?
Moving won’t expedite green cards and work permits, although USCIS processing times vary by location. Choose your home based on personal factors.
The processing times for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices are publicly available on their website. At the time of this blog, a family-based green card case would be finished in Cleveland in 12.5 months, in Miami in 21 months, and in New York City in 17.5 months. With that information, some noncitizens might be tempted to move to Cleveland.
Do Not Move for Faster Processing
I advise against moving to Cleveland. Not generally speaking. Cleveland does have the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Both Halle Berry and Frank Sinatra were born in Cleveland. Most certainly, Cleveland is worth a visit. However, a green card will not be sent to someone faster because they live in Cleveland. Even though the Cleveland USCIS office is one of the fastest in the United States, some noncitizens get their green cards in the mail, so that the local office never touches the file. Those persons will get a green card just as fast whether they live in Miami or Ohio.
Importantly, processing times change. Human resources in the government shift depending on need. While Cleveland might be faster today, Miami could – in the same world where cars can fly – be faster tomorrow. Blandon Law clients, who live all over the United States, get green cards anywhere from 6 months to 2 years after filing.
Do Not Move for Faster Work Permits
Likewise, clients have asked me where they can get the fastest work permits. Employment authorization documents are always sent by mail, with no processing at the local level. The speed with which your neighborhood USCIS office reads a file has no effect on how quickly you will get your work permit.
More important than moving to another part of the country is providing the documents – or getting the covid vaccine – required by the government. When USCIS asks, it is because the green card or the work permit depends on what the government wants. In this way, the government is kind of the woman writing this blog. Do not move expecting something. Instead, have the critical conversation; ask me what I need.
Disclaimer – These entries are based on real life events. Family member names, when used, are real. Client names are changed for privacy.