EDIT: This post previously had 2 questions but @DavidSupportsMonica gave an acceptable answer in the comments so I deleted the now solved question.

I wanted to know whether:

Suppose that someone's priority date is current (read, their chance have finally come in the queue), are they legally required to take that green card and start residing in the US straightaway? What if they actually arrive in the US after 1-2 years or say a much bigger number, 5-7 years.

Asking because my circumstances are a bit strange.


  • I cannot imagine that USCIS would reinstate an application that was seventeen years old. – DavidSupportsMonica Aug 3 '20 at 23:46
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Thanks for confirming! Could you answer the second question too please? – Yashveer Singh Aug 4 '20 at 6:13
  • I'm sorry, I do not know the answer to your second question, – DavidSupportsMonica Aug 4 '20 at 13:48
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    The relative will be issued a visa to enter the US. The expiration date is usually 6 months or less. Once they're in and get the green card, they can leave again, but shouldn't be out of the country for more than 6 months at a time--they need to make their life in the US or they can lose the green card. There are plenty of questions about this here. – mkennedy Aug 4 '20 at 17:38

USCIS now has a very nice set of web pages that discuss the entire flow of the immigrant visa process. You're interested in this page in particular. I've extracted the relevant paragraph below:

When should I travel?

You must arrive in and apply for admission to the United States no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa. An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months.

The entire flow chart and pages start here.

Once you enter, you should try to stay in the US long enough to receive your green card. However, any long absence (more than a few months, particular 6 months to over a year are problematic) could trigger a loss of permant residence or delay your ability to qualify for citizenship. The US authorities want you to make and maintain your life in the US.


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