USA and the UK
What is an F2A Visa?
The F2A visa is a Family Based Green Card designed for spouses and unmarried children of U.S. permanent residents/Green card holders.
The F2A visa falls under the second category of the preference relative Green Cards, along with the F2B visa. Every year, a quota is imposed on the number of category 2 preference relative visas which are issued. The quota is divided into 70% for the F2A category and 30% for the F2B category.
Am I Eligible to Receive an F2A Visa?
To be eligible for an F2A visa, the spouse needs to be able to prove their relationship with their sponsor in the U.S.. With an F2A visa application for children, the child must be unmarried and under the age of 21.
There are a number of other requirements which the beneficiary needs to fulfil. These requirements are explained in further detail below.
What are the Sponsor Requirements?
A sponsor must be able to satisfy a number of conditions in order to be eligible to sponsor their non-American spouse or minor children.
- There needs to be adequate evidence of the relationship between the sponsor and the beneficiaries
- The sponsor must maintain their principal residence in the United States
- The sponsor needs to have a minimum income of at least 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- The sponsor must prove they can financially support their spouse or unmarried children after they arrive in the United States
How do I Apply for an F2A Visa?
The application process has two main stages. Firstly, the sponsor must complete a petition for their spouse or child. If the petition is accepted, the applicant can then begin the F2A visa application process.
The full application process is as follows:
- Sponsor completes petition form and sends it to USCIS
- NVC receives accepted petition form and sends documents to the sponsor and beneficiary explaining the next steps
- Visa application slot becomes available and the F2A visa application process begins
- Complete medical examination and vaccinations
- Compile required documents
- Attend visa interview at U.S. embassy or consulate
- Receive NVC packet and travel to the U.S.
We can help you with every step of your journey towards an F2A visa and Green Card. Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 for expert advice on the F2A visa application process.
F2A Visa Application Process
The first step in the application process is the petition stage. The sponsor needs to complete the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The petition will go to the Department of Homeland Security, and it is processed by the USCIS.
The USCIS will determine whether to approve or deny the petition, and will send their response to the sponsor.
If the petition is rejected, the Green Card holder will be notified of the reasons why and will have the opportunity to rectify the mistakes and file the petition again.
If the petition is approved, the application will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC will send the approval documents to both the sponsor and beneficiary, with detailed instructions on the next steps in the process.
Once a visa application becomes available, the applicant can begin the F2A visa application process.
It is important to keep in mind that if the quota for that year has already been reached, the visa application process cannot begin until the following year.
What is the F2A Visa Application Form?
The form which the spouse or child needs to complete and submit is Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. They will need to apply for the visa through a US embassy or consulate in their home country.
The spouse or child will need to provide background information about themselves, as well as an explanation of their reasons for wanting to move to the U.S.
F2A Visa Required Documents
The specific documents which need to be provided will be particular to each individual case. However, in all F2A visa applications, the following documents will need to be included:
- Passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of entry into the U.S
- Signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S. petitioner
- Birth certificate, if applicable
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Divorce certificate of previous marriage, if applicable
- Immigration medical examination form
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Police certificate or court and criminal records
- Military records if you have served in the military
Medical Examination and Vaccinations
Anyone who is looking to immigrate to the United States is subject to a medical examination and vaccinations. The documents which the applicant receives from the NVC will detail the medical examinations and vaccinations which must be completed.
You will need to provide a medical examination form to prove that you have fulfilled all the medical requirements.
What is the Green Card Interview?
You will need to attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate after the NVC has processed your F2A visa application and documents. The interviewer will decide whether to grant you with the F2A visa. If successful, you will be given an envelope which contains further instructions.
We can help you prepare for the green card visa interview. Call us now on +1 844 290 6312 for expert guidance on the process.
How Much Does the F2A Visa Application Cost?
There are a number of fees which need to be taken into consideration with an F2A visa. The overall cost of the visa depends on the U.S. embassy or consulate which you are applying through.
You will need to pay for:
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative form: (currently $535)
- Processing fee for DS-260 form
- Vaccination fee
- Medical examination fee
- Fees for translation of documents
- USCIS immigrant fee. This needs to be paid after you receive your visa and before you travel to the U.S.
How Long Does it Take to Process an F2A Visa Application and get a Green Card?
It is impossible to determine how long an F2A visa application will take to process. Firstly, it might take some time for a visa application slot to become available. If the quota for the year has already been reached, the applicant will need to wait until the next year for the visa application to proceed.
It is important to remember that visa applications are processed in chronological order. This means there could be a significant number of visa applications waiting to be processed before yours.
When can I Apply for U.S. Citizenship?
Any time you spend in the U.S. as a green card holder will count towards the time requirements which need to be fulfilled for U.S. citizenship.
In most instances, after five years of lawful residence in the U.S., you will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. As a U.S. citizen, you can live in the U.S. free from restrictions, and you will also be able to apply for an American passport.
How can IAS help you and your Family?
The process to get the F2A Visa can be tedious and timeconsuming. However, at IAS we are here to help you with all the necessary legal details.
Your IAS immigration lawyer will:
- Check if you have all the necessary supporting documents;
- Complete all your application forms for you;
- Check the F2A Visa bulletin to follow the availability of visas;
- Liaise with you and your family members;
- Liaise with the NVC and your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
To arrange your initial consultation, get in touch today or call us on +1 844 290 6312.
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The annual F2A Visa bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant family permits. It also defines the application deadline for applications from different foreign countries.
Every year, there is a high demand for these visas, and there is a limitation on the number of applications that can be accepted. However, once your family members get their F2A Visa, they will become permanent residents of the U.S.
If you want to request an F2A Visa, you must:
- Be a U.S. legal permanent resident;
- Be at least 18 years old.
To be eligible, your family members are required to meet some requirements as well. They must:
- Be able to prove their relationship with you;
- Be under the age of 21;
- Be unmarried.
The F2A visa process begins when you submit a petition for your family members. All the information needed before starting your application process is listed in the F2A Visa bulletin.
After reviewing your I-130 Form, the USCIS will communicate its decision. If your petition has been approved, your documents will be delivered to the NVC (National Visa Centre).
The NVC will send the approval documents to both the petitioner and your family. If your petition exceeds the limit of the number of visas guaranteed, your application will be processed the following year. Otherwise, your family will be asked to fill out a DS-260 Form (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application).
Your relatives must be able to explain the reasons why they are immigrating and undergo a medical examination at a licensed doctor. The NVC will send you all the information about what check-ups you must complete, as well as a list of all the mandatory vaccinations.
If the U.S. Embassy approves your visa, you will also receive an envelope with further instructions.
The first mandatory form to initiate your F2A application process is the I-130 petition filed by a U.S. LPR.
While proceeding with further investigations, the NVC will need to review the following documents:
- A valid passport for each member of your family you have petitioned for;
- A copy of your I-864 Form (Affidavit of Support);
- Your and your spouse’s marriage certificate;
- Your children’s birth certificates;
- A copy of your criminal records;
- Every valid proof of your relationship.
Since the USCIS need to check several documents, the F2A processing time may vary. The NVC usually processes visa applications in chronological order.
This means you may need to wait for a year or more before your petition is processed. As a U.S. permanent resident, you might get your U.S. citizenship while waiting for your F2A Visa to be processed. Subsequently, your family will automatically qualify for an Immediate Relative Visa (IR).
The F2A Visa processing time is usually long and can take over a year in some cases, from the day the petition is made. However, your lawyer can advise you on how to check the progress of your application.
The fees for the F2A Visa must be paid at different stages of the application process. Since every individual Consulate sets the cost of the biometric services, there are no fixed fees for this permit.
Your immigration lawyer will guide you throughout the payment process. Usually, you will need to pay the following fees at different stages of the F2A visa timeline:
- Filing the I-130 Petition ($535);
- Filing the Form DS-260;
- USCIS Immigrant Fees, to be paid before traveling to the U.S. ($165);
- Medical examinations and biometric fees.
Yes, in the vast majority of circumstances, you will be able to take up employment in the USA as a Green Card holder through the F2A visa route.
You can apply for employment authorisation by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorisation.