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Navigating the F-2A Visa: Spouses and Minor Children of Permanent Residents

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What is the F-2A Visa?

The F2A visa is one of the visas under the Family Second Preference Category. It’s available to spouses and unmarried children under 21 of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Holders of this visa can also be eligible for a US green card. F-2A visas often have many applicants annually, although only a limited number of slots are approved.

If you’re considering bringing your family to the US through this visa, consult skilled immigration lawyers in Chicago to guide you through the intricate process. If your spouse or child is approved for the F2A, they may qualify to:

  • Live and work in the US without having to secure employment authorization from the Immigration Services
  • Apply for a Social Security number and use it to get a job
  • Enroll in a school or institution of higher learning to further their education

What Are Family Preference Visas?

Family preference visas are available to applicants with family ties with US citizens or lawful permanent residents. They vary depending on the applicant’s relationship to the US citizen and include:

  • F1 or family first preference visa available to unmarried children of US citizens and their children
  • F2 or family second preference visas for minors, unmarried children, and spouses of US permanent residents. They are further divided into F2A visas available for spouses and minor children or US lawful permanent residents and F2B visas for unmarried children of LPRs who are older than 21 years
  • F3 family third preference visas for married children of US citizens and their children
  • F4 or family fourth preference visas for siblings of US children and their children

Understanding the differences between family-based visas is crucial when submitting a petition. It also helps to have skilled Chicago family immigration attorneys review your application to minimize the risk of making mistakes that could have your application denied.

What is the Eligibility Criteria for F-2A Visa?

Applicants of the F2A visa can’t apply directly if they are foreign nationals. Instead, their relative, a US resident or LPR, must apply for admission to the US on behalf of their children or spouse. A petitioner must meet the following conditions:

  1. Be at least 18 years
  2. Reside in the United States and have a permanent registered address.
  3. The spouse and children for whom the application is made must be able to provide all the required documents and be found ineligible.

Grounds for Ineligibility

Family immigration lawyers in Chicago can explain several grounds on which visa applicants can be found ineligible for admission into the United States. They highlight the following as some of the major categories of grounds for inadmissibility:

  • Criminal convictions
  • Being a threat to national security
  • Health and medical reasons
  • Fraud and misrepresentation in the petition
  • Prior removals from the country or unlawful presence
  • Likelihood of becoming a public charge

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may also find you inadmissible under other miscellaneous grounds of inadmissibility. The agency has the discretion to approve or deny immigration petitions.

What Is the Process for F2A Visa Application?

If you’re the spouse or eligible child of a US citizen or LPR and already living in the country, an immigrant visa could be immediately available as a family preference immigrant. However, you must meet other requirements to complete Form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status or Register Permanent Residence).

The Application enables you to apply for a green card without leaving the country. You can file Form I-485:

  • Simultaneously with Form I-130, a petition for Alien Relative filed on your behalf
  • While I-130 is pending
  • After the approval of Form I-130, as long as the USCIS hasn’t terminated or revoked it.

Documents to Submit

You also must submit several documents and supportive information to apply for a Green Card as a family preference immigrant already in the United States:

  • Two passport-style photographs
  • Copy of your birth certificate or adoption certificate
  • Copy of your government-issued document with a photograph
  • Copy of Form I-797, which is the Approval or Receipt Notice for the Form I-130 petition
  • Copy of your passport page with your admission or parole stamp (if applicable)
  • Proof of maintaining lawful status since entering the country (if applicable)
  • Copy of Form I-94, Arrival or Departure Record (if applicable)
  • Police and court records of criminal charges, convictions, and arrests, if applicable. They must be certified. If applying from outside the country, you must provide police clearance for every country you have lived in for 6 months or longer.
  • Affidavit of support form from your US citizen spouse or parent, and supporting documentation

The National Visa Center will also require you to submit completed medical examination and vaccination forms. A licensed physician must complete the medical examination and required vaccines.

What is the Processing Time for F2A Visas?

Family immigration attorneys in Chicago explain that several factors affect F2A visa processing time:

  • Case volume: The number of pending applications at the USCIS and overall caseload can impact the processing times. About 114,200 F2 visas are issued annually, with 77% of them being F2A visas. Excess number of petitions rolled over to subsequent years can increase the workload.
  • Completeness of the application: You may experience delays in your application if your documents are incomplete or some are missing. The USCIS may also require additional information or clarification from you or your sponsor.
  • Background checks: The immigration department will conduct various security and background checks as part of the immigration process. The process can significantly impact the time it takes to approve or deny the application.

A Skilled Immigration Lawyer Guiding You Through the F2A Visa Application Process

The F2A visa allows green card holders who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents to bring their children or spouses to the United States for a reunion. If you’re considering this path, understanding the eligibility criteria, application requirements, and how to prepare for the interview can enhance your chances of a successful application.

Experienced immigration attorneys in Chicago can also assess your application and guide you correctly to help you avoid mistakes that could have your application denied. SwagatUSA, LLC has knowledgeable family immigration lawyers who can help you navigate the complex system. Call us at 773-825-8695 to schedule a consultation.

(Disclaimer: this blog post should not be used as legal advice. Every case is different and supporting documentation may be different.)

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