A significant recent change has been made to the applications for spouses and minor children of green card holders (F2A category) to become a lawful permanent resident.
As it is well known, becoming a lawful permanent resident aka having a Green Card is one of the most outstanding opportunities for those who want to live, work, start a business or study in the US. Furthermore, as we mentioned in one of our previously published blog post, obtaining a Green Card is also the primary pathway to US Citizenship by naturalization. There are various eligibility categories to apply for a green card such as through investment, employment or DV lottery and Green Card through family is also a separate category among those. In other words, for the purpose of this blog, if you are married to a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you and your minor children may become eligible to obtain a Green Card. However, there would be different procedures, conditions, and consequences of these two type of marriages concerning the Green Card processes.
Spouses and Minor Children or US Citizens (F1 Category) and Green Card Holders (F2A Category): What Makes the Difference?
As mentioned earlier, things are different for the two sub-categories. While there is no quota specified for first preference (F1) immigrant category (i.e., those married to US citizens), second preference immigrant category (F2A) has been subjected to quotas meaning years of backlogs and continued family separation. That is, due to the quickly filled quotas, those people who are married to Green card holders were unable to apply for adjustment of status and were faced with elongated waiting periods until the recent changes. Before going into the details, let's explain the term “adjustment of status”.
What is Adjustment of Status?
USCIS defines adjustment of status as “a process that you can use to apply for lawful permanent resident status (also known as applying for a Green Card) when you are present in the United States.” In other words, adjustment of status allows you to obtain a green card while residing in the US until the visa processing is completed. Thus, spouses and minor children of green card holders could easily get a green card without having to return their home countries. There are also additional benefits of adjustment of status. Applicants would not need a temporary visa status anymore and could obtain work and travel permits once the application is submitted.
The Previous Situation in F2A Category
Previously, being eligible to apply for adjustment of status for spouses and minor children in the F2A category was taking a long time, even up to 2 years, due to the quotas mentioned above. Therefore, people in this category were deprived of the benefits of adjustment of status such as remaining in the US without a temporary visa while their application was processed, getting a work permit, and traveling abroad. Furthermore, the applicants were required to maintain a temporary visa status if they wanted to remain in the U.S. Otherwise, they had to leave the US during the waiting period.
What Does Recent Development Mean for F2A Category?
According to June 2019 visa bulletin of the US Department of State (DOS), the F2A category became current beginning July 1, 2019. This announcement gave a glimpse of hope for those who are supposed to submit their applications in this category and for those who have already filled an I-130 and have been waiting for the Visa Bulletin to become current. While F2A becomes current, applicants would be able to submit I-130 and I-485 concurrently, and if they have already filed an I-130, they would be able to submit I-485 form for Adjustment of Status right away. Furthermore, applicants would be able to apply for work and travel permit concomitantly, and they would be allowed to work and travel abroad when they receive the relevant documentation.
We strongly recommend our followers in this category (F2A) to take this once in a lifetime opportunity. You can contact us for your detailed inquiries.
Onal Gallant and Partners PC is a law office specializing in Real Estate Law, Intellectual Property, Corporate and Business Law, Immigration Law, and the US Visa Processes. We deliver reliable advice in a large variety of subjects ranging from forming a corporation, and buying a house in the US to trademark registration and Green Card applications (e.g., EB3 Visa or DV Lottery). With exceptional knowledge and insight into immigration law, our experienced lawyers at Onal Gallant and Partners PC are ready to help and respond to all of your inquiries.
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