Now Is the Time for Permanent Residents to Seek Visas for Their Children and Spouses


If you are a permanent resident of the U.S. (a “green card” holder) and want to obtain a visa to bring your foreign spouse or children under the age of 21 to live with you, then NOW is the time to do it.

The F2A visa is a “family second preference” visa specifically allocated to spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents. Until recently, there was a backlog of applications in this category of up to 699 days (nearly two years) to move into priority status. But the government has now indicated that as of August, the F2A category will be “current,” meaning that petitions to sponsor family members who fall into this category can be processed immediately.

Furthermore, the category is flashing “current” for relatives who wish to come from countries with specified allotments, such as China, India, Mexico, or the Phillipines, as well as for relatives who wish to enter the U.S. from any of the countries that have no F2A allocations.

This is a rare opportunity and will not last forever. The F2A category is expected to remain “current” for all countries for at least a few months after August, but that is impossible to predict with certainty, and many experts are predicting that the window of opportunity will begin closing some time later this year.

For whatever reason, there are not enough applicants in this category now, however, who are actively pursuing final action on their cases to fully utilize all of the available numbers. The available quota fluctuates, as it comes from a formula that applies to all “second preference” family members, including unmarried sons and daughters 21 years or older (covered by the F2B visa). Basically, the F2A category receives 77 percent of the slots allotted to the overall 2d preference category, and that category gets at least 114,200 spots, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers.

It is not necessary for F2A visa recipients to understand the formula or the process if they hire a qualified attorney to walk them through the legal steps of getting a visa.

If you are interested in bringing your spouse or minor children to the U.S. under the F2A visa program, you will need to file a petition to sponsor an alien relative, known as an I-130 petition in the F2A category, and our law offices can assist you in doing so. We can also assist those who are seeking to sponsor a same-sex spouse, provided that they are jurisdictionally covered by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which recently extended immigration benefits to same-sex spouses under certain conditions (basically, related to the law of the place in which the spouses were married, but sometimes considering the law of their place of residence).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ronald Shapiro | Attorney Advertising

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