The Family Preference Category is a part of the United States immigration system that determines the priority given to certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) when they apply for immigrant visas to come to the United States. The family-sponsored preference categories are divided into four preference groups:
- F1 – First Preference: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- F2 – Second Preference: Spouses, Minor Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age and older) of Lawful Permanent Residents
- F3 – Third Preference: Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
- F4 – Fourth Preference: Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens
Each preference category has a numerical limit on the visas available each fiscal year. The preference categories are designed to allocate visas based on the relationship and the immigration status of the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or permanent resident filing the petition).
It’s important to note that the demand for family-sponsored visas often exceeds the annual numerical limits, leading to waiting periods for certain categories. The U.S. Department of State publishes a Visa Bulletin each month, providing information on the current processing dates for each preference category. Applicants must wait for their priority date (the date the petition was filed) to become current before they can move forward with the visa application process.
F2A – Spouses and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs)
The F2A category in U.S. immigration refers to a family-based preference category for immigration purposes. It specifically applies to the spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), also known as green card holders.
In the family-based immigration system, there are different preference categories (F1, F2A, F2B, F3, and F4) that determine the priority given to different family relationships when allocating immigrant visas. The F2A category is specifically for the spouses and unmarried children of green card holders.
The availability of visas in the F2A category is limited, and there is usually a waiting period involved. The Visa Bulletin, published monthly by the U.S. Department of State, provides information on visa availability for each preference category. Due to the numerical limitations and high demand, individuals in the F2A category may have to wait for their priority date (the date the petition was filed) to become current before they can proceed with the immigration process.
It’s important for individuals in the F2A category to stay informed about the Visa Bulletin and any updates in immigration policies that may affect their case.
How to apply for a F2A green card?
Applying for an F2A green card involves a multi-step process. Here’s a general overview, but it’s important to note that immigration processes can be complex and subject to change. Always check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information. The process typically involves the following steps:
- Green Card Holder (LPR) Petition:
- The U.S. citizen or green card holder (LPR) must file an immigrant petition on behalf of their spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 using Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- The petitioner (the green card holder) must provide evidence of the qualifying relationship, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and other supporting documentation.
- Once the I-130 petition is approved by USCIS, it establishes the qualifying relationship and is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- National Visa Center (NVC) Processing:
- The NVC will process the approved petition and assign a case number.
- The NVC will notify the petitioner and the intending immigrant when the visa is about to become current, and they will be required to submit additional documentation, including visa application forms and supporting documents.
- Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status:
- Once the visa becomes current, the intending immigrant can apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate in their home country through consular processing.
- If the intending immigrant is already in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status, they may choose to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS instead of going through consular processing.
- Medical Examination and Visa Interview:
- The intending immigrant must undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician.
- Attend a visa interview at the U.S. consulate (for consular processing) or a USCIS office (for adjustment of status).
- Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status Approval:
- If the visa is approved, the intending immigrant will receive an immigrant visa for entry into the U.S. (for consular processing) or a green card (for adjustment of status).
- Entry into the U.S. and Conditional Permanent Residence:
- Upon entering the U.S., the immigrant becomes a conditional permanent resident. Conditional permanent residency is granted for two years.
- To remove the conditions, the conditional resident must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, during the 90-day period before the expiration of the conditional green card.
This is a general overview, and the specific steps and requirements may vary based on individual circumstances. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or refer to the USCIS website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
What documents are required for F2A category application?
The specific documents required for an F2A category application can vary based on individual circumstances, but generally, you can expect to provide the following documents:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative:
- This form is filed by the U.S. citizen or green card holder (petitioner) on behalf of the spouse or unmarried child under 21 (beneficiary).
- Supporting Documentation for Form I-130:
- Evidence establishing the qualifying relationship, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and other relevant documents.
- Proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or green card status.
- Financial Documents:
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) may be required to demonstrate that the petitioner has the financial means to support the intending immigrant. This may involve providing recent tax returns, W-2 forms, or other proof of income.
- Passport-Style Photos:
- Passport-style photos of the petitioner and the intending immigrant.
- Civil Documents for the Beneficiary:
- Birth certificates for each beneficiary.
- Marriage certificates (if applicable).
- Divorce or death certificates of any previous spouses (if applicable).
- Medical Examination:
- A medical examination by an approved panel physician is required before the immigrant visa interview or adjustment of status application.
- Police Certificates:
- Police certificates from the countries where the intending immigrant has lived for more than six months since the age of 16.
- Visa Application Forms:
- DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, depending on whether the intending immigrant is going through consular processing or adjusting status within the U.S.
- Fee Payments:
- Payment of the appropriate filing fees associated with the petition and visa application.
- Other Supporting Documents:
- Any additional documents requested by the National Visa Center (NVC) or the U.S. consulate during the processing of the case.