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U.S. Green Card Holders Can Now Sponsor Spouses and Minor Children Without Extended Wait Time – But for How Long?

Beginning August 1, 2013, immigrant visa availability for F-2A category of family based petitions will be “current.”  This means that visas for spouses and minor children of green card holders will be available immediately.  Historically, sponsors who are U.S. green card holders have waited years to be able to bring qualifying family members to the U.S.
Read on to see how different parties are affected by the temporary “current” Priority Date for F-2A category of family based petitions:

  • If the spouse is inside the U.S. under a valid status or if the spouse is grandfathered by INA section 245(i), a permanent resident can now petition for their spouse and simultaneously file an adjustment of status application.
  • If the spouse of the permanent resident is outside the U.S., the permanent resident’s petition may now be processed for immigrant visa issuance at the U.S. Consulate abroad upon approval of the petition.

Minor Children

  • A permanent resident petitioner may directly petition for any unmarried children under 21 years old.
    • If inside the U.S.  provided the beneficiary is either in valid status or grandfathered by INA section 245(i), the child may simultaneously file an application for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident.
    • If the child is outside the United States, the child can apply for an immigrant visa through the U.S. consulate overseas upon petition approval.

Same-Sex Couples

  • With recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, a permanent resident in a same sex marriage relationship may now file a petition for the benefit of their alien spouse.
  • The same rules apply to same sex marriages as to heterosexual marriages.  Parties must introduce evidence of a bona fide marriage.

While the U.S. Department of State expects the F-2A category to remain current for a few months, they have warned that this expectation depends upon the demand for visas and that there is always the possibility of retrogression to the usual 3-4 year wait.
Green card holders should take advantage of this rare opportunity.  Contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our Green Card Attorneys.