The U.S. Immigrant Visas have various categories. One of them is the Family Preference Immigrant US Visas of which is for the family of the U.S. citizens and the Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) who live in a different country. The primary qualification for this US visa is to be one of the immediate family members of the U.S. citizen or an LPR. Spouses, minor or adult children, parents, or siblings can only apply. Family members such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins are part of the extended family and as such does not qualify to apply for these US visas.
The Family Preference US Visas have specific types and denote with the letter F prefix. One of these is the F-2 U.S. visa, which is intended for the spouses, minor children, and the adult children of the LPR’s from the different countries. This F-2 U.S. visa has two classes:
- The F-2A U.S. visas are for spouses and minor children of LPRs
- The F-2B U.S. visas are for unmarried children over 21 years old of LPRs
The Family Preference US Visas have a numerical restriction say the F-2 U.S. visa has an allocation amount of 114, 200 US visas per year and its capacity allocate into two kinds:
- The F-2A U.S. visa accepts at least 79,940 visas or 70% of the total number of US visas
- The F-2B U.S. visa accepts 34,260 visas or less than 30% of the whole
This article will address what the F-2A U.S. visa, its requirements, the application process, and other pertinent information.
What Is the F-2A Visa?
The F-2A U.S. visa, or the Visa for Certain Family Members of Lawful Permanent Residents, is intended to authorize LPRs to take their spouses or minor children into the U.S. for good. This visa grants U.S. citizens to get reunited with their families living in a different country.
Each year, there would be approximately 80,000 F-2A U.S. visas granted to those who apply in the U.S. Because this visa has a numerical limitation, it is very sought-after, and it has a very long waiting span. Nevertheless, the family members of the LPRs would live in the U.S. permanently after they secure the visa. They will be granted to live in the U.S., work, and enroll in schools and universities.
What Are the Requirements of the F-2A Visa?
Obtaining the F-2A is not tricky and pretty straightforward. Let us take into consideration spouses that are lawfully married. A wife who wants their companion to accompany them in the U.S. needs to confirm that they are indeed legally married by presenting marriage documents. People who are not legally married (i.e. live-in partners) cannot be granted to appeal or petition for their significant other to the U.S.
The same can also be said when one wants to bring their children using the F-2A US visa. The citizen must declare the relationship to them as well. The following stipulations involve:
- The children must be under 21 years old
- The children must be unmarried
- Presenting valid birth certificates or adoption documents must be submitted to validate the relationship
The Lawful Permanent Residents who will be petitioning for their family members and their qualifications of eligibility to obtain the F-2A US Visa are expected to pass the following criteria :
- Various documents and consent to conditions are needed to be signed. Therefore the LPR must be at least 18 years old
- The LPR must be living in the U.S and have a registered address with the authorities that are within the U.S.
How to Apply for the F-2A Visa?
The application process for the F-2A divides into two components:
- The U.S Lawful Permanent Resident petitions for their spouse or minor children to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- When this petition is approved, the spouse or child must apply to a U.S Embassy or Consulate in their native country
The application must start in the U.S through the petition, and by the LPR, otherwise, it will not be accepted. F-2A US Visas will not be taken into consideration if spouses or children try to apply without an approved petition.
Filing the Petition
The Form I-130 needs to be submitted by the US LPR or otherwise known as the Petition for Alien Relative to the USCIS. The USCIS forwards the petition to the DHS or Department of Homeland Security. USCIS has set a fee which the LPR requires to pay for the next process.
Approval or denial is sent to the petitioner after the petition is done being processed by the USCIS. If the request is in a denied status, the LPR will then be advised of the reasons for the denial of the said petition for them to improve on the problems and file it again. On the other hand, if it is approved, the NVC or National Visa Center further processes the documents sent.
The petitioner and the applicant (spouse or child) will receive the approval documents by the National Visa Center in which a case and an invoice identification number are presented. Fees that would need to be paid (including the process on how to pay them) is also a part of the notice that they’d receive.
The National Visa Center takes into account the total amount of petitions for a year. There are capacity restrictions for the F-2A US Visa; therefore, applicants are not allowed to apply from their home countries with non-current dates. If the petition already surpasses the capacity of over 80,000 US Visas, then the application would have to be processed in the following year.
Applying for the F-2A visa
The National Visa Center will instruct the petitioner and applicant to begin the application process for the F-2A once they can confirm that your dates are current. The spouse or child needs to apply for the US visa through the U.S Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The petitioner no longer has to file documents to the USCIS in this section.
File Form DS-260
All applicants for immigration must present the Immigrant Visa Electronic Application Form or Form DS-260. Personal and background information of the applicants, as well as the reasons for the immigration to the U.S., is done online. The DS-260 Form will require you to write your NVC case and invoice ID number and then followed by filling in the appropriate sections and submit once finished. A confirmation number page displays after submission, which must be sent to the NVC as part of the documents file.
Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination
Mandatory medical exam and vaccinations are required from those who want to reside in the US permanently. A set of documents is given off and disclosed in which check-ups one must complete and vaccinations to take. The completion of the examination ends with a licensed doctor signing off the documents that the necessary tests have indeed taken place and vaccinations are done.
Compile Documents File
Necessary documents must include all the data to support the applicants’ case and convince the NVC and the US embassy or Consulate that the applicant has already complied with all the requirements. It should have the following:
- Your valid passport for more than six months after the planned entry into the U.S
- A signed Form I-864 or otherwise known as Affidavit of Support from the U.S petitioner or LPR (applicant’s spouse or parent)
- Confirmation page of Form DS-260
- Medical examination and vaccination documents
- Two photographs according to the Photo Requirements
- The spouse of the LPR must present a marriage certificate.
- Birth or adoption certificates are to be presented for the children of the LPR
- Court and criminal records and police certificate
- Divorce or death certificates need to be given if an applicant is previously married proving that the marriage has indeed ended officially.
- Military records need to be presented if the applicant has served in the military.
A US Visa interview would be scheduled for the applicant when the NVC confirms that the applicant fulfills all the requirements and documents needed. The meeting will be done at the U.S Embassy or Consulate where the applicant has appealed. The approval or denial of the said status of the US Visa would solely depend on the interviewer that will examine the applicant since he/she will be asking questions about the applicant’s background.
Receive NVC Packet and Travel to the U.S.
Once the US Embassy has approved the said US Visa application, a visa will then be issued on your passport thereby giving you permanent residency in the United States. The US Embassy will also provide the applicant with a sealed packet of documents which in any condition must not be opened. These documents will need to be taken with the applicant when traveling to the U.S in which an immigration official will then open the said documents. Please do take note that this is a much-needed requirement for the applicant to enter the U.S successfully.
How Much Does the F-2A Visa Cost?
Several fees are needed to pay by the petitioner and the applicant during the application process for the F-2A visa. These sets of charges differ from one another and placed by the USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security and the individual U.S Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. The primary categorical charges are as follows:
- Form I-130 filing fee
- Processing fee for the Form DS-260
- Medical examination and vaccination fees
- Costs to get and translate all the supporting documents
- USCIS Immigrant Fee after applicants receive their US Visas and before they travel to the U.S. These payments are crucial for the USCIS to issue the applicant’s green card.
What Is the F-2A Visa Processing Time?
There is a variation for the processing time for the F-2A US visa. The applicant’s date must become up-to-date for them to start the application process after the approval of the petition. The NVC processes US visas in chronological order; therefore, it will depend on the number of applications was there before you, meaning, it would usually take a year for the applicant’s date to become current and thus the processing time is considerably lengthy.
What if the Petitioning LPR got a U.S Citizenship While the F-2A Visa is Processing?
Because of the long processing time, The LPR may be able to acquire or qualify for US citizenship. This means that the spouse and children qualify for a different category or type of US Visa. An Immediate Relative (IR) US Visa does not have restrictions or limits to the number of applications they process which means it is much faster to handle.
By this time, the petitioner will have an opportunity to file different petitions to process the US Visa.