There are many types of family preference visas, all of which have the F prefix. One of them is the F2 visa, which is for spouses, minor children and adult children of LPRs abroad. There are two categories of second preference family visas.
- F2A visas for spouses and minor children of LPRs.
- F2B visas for unmarried children over the age of 21 of LPRs.
There is a limit on the number of family preference visas that can be issued. There are 114,200 visas issued annually for these visas. The maximum number of these visas will be issued in this manner in two categories.
- F2A visas are allocated a minimum of 79,940, which is 70 percent of the total number of visas.
- F-2B visas are 34,260, or less than 30 percent of the total.
This article explains what an F2A visa is, the requirements, the application process and other relevant details.
What Is the F2A Visa?
An F2A visa is a U.S. immigrant visa for the spouse or minor children of a green card holder. This visa is intended for legal permanent residents (LPRs) of the United States to allow these special family members permanent residence in the United States.
Due to the cap and number restrictions on F2A visas, they are in high demand and the waiting list can be quite long. However, this visa allows LPR family members to become permanent residents of the United States and to live, work, and study in the United States.
Who Can Obtain the F2A Visa?
To apply for an F2A visa, you must meet the following requirements.
- The child must be under 21 years of age.
- The child must be under 21 years of age and the child must be unmarried.
- You must be able to prove your relationship to the sponsor in the United States.
In addition to the eligibility requirements for family members receiving an F2A visa, lawful permanent residents filing a petition on behalf of family members must also meet the following eligibility requirements
- LPRs must be at least 18 years of age to sign various documents and agree to the conditions.
- The LPR must reside in the United States and have a registered address with a government agency in the United States.
How to Apply for the F2A Visa?
The application process for an F2A visa is divided into two parts.
- A permanent resident of the United States files a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of his or her spouse or minor children.
- Once the petition is approved, the spouse or child must file an application with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
The application must be initiated in the U.S. by the LPR through the petition. If the spouse or child attempts to apply for an F2A visa without the petition being approved, it will not be considered.
Filing the Petition
LPRs in the U.S. must file a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with USCIS. This petition is filed with the Department of Homeland Security, which is part of USCIS, and the LPR must pay a fee set by USCIS.
The petition is processed by USCIS and a response of approval or denial is sent to the petitioner. If the petition is denied, the reason for the denial is provided so that the LPR can correct the problem and file a new petition. If the petition is approved, the documents are sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
The NVC sends approval documents to the petitioner and the applicant (spouse or child), giving them a case number and a bill identification number, as well as instructions on what to do next. This document also contains all the information about what fees are to be paid and how to pay them.
There is a cap on F2A visas, so if your information is not current, you will not be able to apply from your home country; the NVC takes into account the number of petitions each year and if your petition exceeds the cap of 80,000 visas, your application will be processed the next year.
Applying for the F2A visa
If your petition date is current, the NVC will instruct you to begin the F2A visa application process. Your spouse or child must apply for a visa through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. The petitioner does not need to submit any documents to USCIS for this application process.
File Form DS-260
Form DS-260 (Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa) is the form that all immigrant visa applicants must submit. This application is completed online and asks for your personal and background information, as well as your reasons for immigrating to the United States. You will also be asked to provide your NVC case number and bill number. You must fill in the appropriate fields and submit. After submitting the form, you will receive a page with your confirmation number, which you must submit to NVC as part of your paperwork.
Complete medical examination and vaccination
Medical examinations and immunizations are mandatory for all immigrants to the United States. A list of medical examinations and immunizations is included in the document set. You must be examined by a licensed physician, as the physician will sign the documents and certify that you have received the required vaccinations.
Compile the F2A visa documents file
The document file must contain all necessary documents to support your case; you must convince NVC and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you have met all requirements and are eligible for an F2A visa.
Documents required to obtain an F2A visa must include the following.
- A valid passport that is at least six months old at the time of intended entry into the United States.
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, signed by the U.S. petitioner or LPR (applicant’s spouse or parent).
- Form DS-260, Verification Page.
- Medical examination and immunization documentation.
- Two photographs in accordance with U.S. visa photo regulations.
- If you are the spouse of an LPR, please bring your marriage certificate.
- For children of LPRs, bring birth or adoption certificate.
- A court or criminal record and/or police certification.
- If you were previously married, you must bring a divorce or death certificate to prove that your marriage has officially ended.
- If you served in the military, you must bring your military service record.
Once the NVC has processed your documents and confirmed that you have met all requirements, the NVC will schedule your visa interview. The interview will take place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. The interviewer will ask you questions about your background to determine if you are eligible for an F2A visa.
Receive NVC packet and travel to the US
If the U.S. Embassy approves your visa, you are moving toward permanent residence in the United States. The U.S. Embassy will give you a sealed packet of documents when they issue the visa in your passport. You will not be able to open this package under any circumstances. When you travel to the United States, you must bring this with you and the immigration officer will open it. This is a requirement for successful entry into the United States.
How Much Does the F2A Visa Cost?
There are various fees for processing the F2A visa application that must be paid by the applicant and the petitioner. The amounts are set by USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are applying. The major categories of fees that must be paid are.
- Form I-130 Application Fee
- Form DS-260 Processing Fee
- Fees for medical examinations and vaccinations
- Fees for obtaining and translating all supporting documents
- USCIS immigration fees, which must be paid after you receive your visa and before you travel to the United States. USCIS will not issue your green card if you do not pay these fees.
What Is the F2A Visa Processing Time?
The length of the F2A visa review process varies. To begin the application process after your petition is approved, your date must be current; the NVC processes visas in chronological order, so it depends on how many applicants were before you. This means that it usually takes a year or more to get your dates up to date, so the processing time can be quite long.
Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an F2A Visa?
Yes, you can use an F2A visa to receive medical care in the United States. However, the cost of medical care in the United States is among the highest in the world.
From $2,500 for treatment of a broken leg or arm to an average hospital stay in the U.S. costing over $10,000, F2A visa holders need to choose a health insurance plan that fits them and covers their needs in an overall affordable way.
What if the Petitioning LPR got a US Citizenship While the F2A Visa is Processing?
Because the processing time for an F2A visa is very long, it is possible that the LPR will obtain U.S. citizenship during this time. In this case, the spouse and children will be granted another type of visa, an IR (Immediate Relative) visa. This visa has no cap, so the process is very quick.
The petitioner then has the opportunity to file additional petitions for the visa process.