If you have gone through a consular processing spouse visa process, once you arrive in the United States with your visa, your green card will arrive in the mail. We’ve had a lot of individuals that are asking, “It’s been several months since my arrival in the United States and I still haven’t received my green card. When can I expect to receive this green card and what happens if I don’t receive my green card? What can I do? Who can I contact?”
This green card is for an individual who completed the consular processing process, which is for individuals who are outside of the United States and have attended an interview at a US embassy or consulate abroad.
When you are approved at the interview, the US embassy or consulate will put a visa in your passport. Once you enter the United States, a CBP officer will put another stamp on your passport. Together, that stamp and visa is actually your green card even though they call it a visa.
That serves as proof of your residency and you’re a green card holder for a year while you wait for your actual physical green card and Social Security card to arrive in the mail.
Green Card Receipt Number
Once you receive your visa by a courier or you pick it up from the office, they will give you a new receipt number. A lot of people don’t pay attention to that. That receipt number is your receipt number for your green card and starts with “IOE”.
You should go through your documents and see if the immigration officer gave you a number that starts with “IOE”. If you have that, you can use the USCIS case status tool to check the status of your case using that number, more specifically you’ll be able to check the status of your green card.
The other thing you want to make sure that you do to be able to receive your green card is that you’ll pay the visa fee. That fee should be paid before you enter the United States.
When you have paid the fee, you’ll see a notice on your USCIS case status that says, “You should receive your resident card within 90 days of entry to the United States or within 90 days after your USCIS immigration fee payment is received.”
If you don’t pay that fee, then you won’t receive your green card. But usually, this is the status that you will see. It’ll also say if you’ve paid your fee and tell you the date when you paid your fee.
90 Days and Still No Green Card
Receiving your green card used to take 90 days but COVID and general immigration delays happened. If it’s been more than 90 days, you can call the USCIS contact center to get more information and you will need that receipt number for them to look up the status of your green card.
When you call, the customer service officers will usually let you know actually because of COVID and delays, it is taking up to 120 days or sometimes more.
Immigration is very random. It’s hard to compare your case to someone else’s. Just because someone else received their card in a month or six months doesn’t mean that will hold true for you. We’re seeing individuals receiving their green cards within a month and others are having to wait longer.
Again, the tools you can use would be checking that online case status with that receipt number to see the green card. It will show you when they’re actually delivering the card and they’ll even give you the United States Postal Service (USPS) tracking so you can track your card.
You can also call USCIS and typically, they will tell you it’s taking up to 120 days. If it gets beyond that 120-day mark, they can put in an inquiry for you. It’s considered as an outside of normal processing inquiry to get the status of your card.