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What is the difference between F2A and F2B visa?

The F2A and F2B Visas are designed to allow eligible family members of US citizens to come to the US. They fall under the category of Family Preference visas. This guide outlines the differences between F2A and F2B visas.

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What are the F2A and F2B Visas?

The Second Preference Family Visa can be divided into two categories: the F2A Visa and the F2B Visa. These are part of the Immediate Relative and Family Sponsored visa categories. It is a type of family-based immigration (also known as the Green Card) to allow an eligible applicant to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR).

The F2A and F2B Visas have been designed for certain family members of existing lawful permanent residents or citizens in the US.

The F2A Visa has been designed for the spouses and minor children of US citizens or LPRs. The F2B Visa has been created for an unmarried child aged over 21 years of age whose parents are LPRs or US citizens.

As with other visa categories, the Family Preference Visa categories have limits. There are approximately 79,900 F2A Visas and 34,200 F2B Visas issued each year.

This guide sets out a full list of the differences between the F2A and F2B Visas.

F2A Visa eligibility

The F2A Visa is designed for spouses or minor children of people who are LPRs in the United States. Below are some of the requirements of the applicants for this visa category:

  • The child must be under the age of 21
  • The child must not be married
  • The sponsor must be able to provide proof of their relationship with the child

There are also requirements and eligibility criteria for the visa sponsors. These include:

  • The sponsor must be over the age of 18 years old
  • The sponsor must be resident in the US
  • The sponsor should have a valid US address

F2B Visa eligibility

As a related category, the F2B Visa has been designed for an adult, unmarried child of eligible US citizens or LPRs.

The requirements for the F2B Visa include:

  • Evidence showing the applicant is a child of a US citizen
  • Proof that the adult child is aged over 21 years of age
  • The child is single or not married

In order for the sponsor to meet the visa requirements, they must also show:

  • They are the legal parent of the applicant
  • They are a US citizen or LPR
  • They have a registered address in the US

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How to apply for the F2A and F2B Visas

Both visas follow a similar process. There are two main stages in the application process. The first stage involves the US LPR submitting a petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Following this, the next stage is for the applicant to submit their application to a US Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence.

Stage 1:

  • The LPR sponsor based in the US files a petition to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services using Form I-130
    • For the F2A Visa, the sponsor will submit it on behalf of their spouse or minor child
    • For the F2B Visa, this will be on behalf of their adult unmarried child
  • If the petition is accepted, the applicant may continue with stage 2 of the application

Stage 2:

  • If your application can be considered within the current time period (i.e., your date is current), the National Visa Center (NVC) will request that you apply to your local US Embassy or Consulate
  • Begin the process by completing and submitting Form DS-260
  • All applicants should undertake a medical examination and receive the relevant vaccinations
  • Submit your documents file
  • Attend the visa interview at your local US Embassy or Consulate
  • If approved, you will receive a stamp in your passport as confirmation

Documents required for the F2A and F2B Visas

The documents that you provide as part of your visa application are extremely important and will be used as evidence to decide whether your visa should be granted.

Some of these documents include:

  • Copy of your passport
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Affidavit of Support from your sponsor (Form I-864)
  • The confirmation page of your Form DS-260
  • Your medical examination and vaccination record
  • Police certificate and any evidence of criminal or court records
  • Military service records (where relevant)

Extra documents for F2A Visa

If you are applying for F2A, you should provide evidence of being the spouse or child of the Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), and if you have had a previous marriage that ended, a copy of the divorce certificate.

Extra documents for F2B Visa

If you are applying for F2B, you must submit evidence of your relationship with the LPR or US-based sponsor and show that you are not married.

F2A and F2B cost and processing time

As with the majority of Family Preference visa categories, there are several costs and long waiting times involved in the application process.

Cost

The cost of the F2A and F2B visas include:

  • The filing fee for Form I-130
  • The processing fee for Form DS-260
  • The fees to receive a medical examination and vaccinations
  • The cost of any documents that must be translated
  • The immigrant fee payable to USCIS when you receive your visa

Processing time

It is difficult to estimate how long an average application for the F2A or F2B visas takes. For some applicants, it can take one year, while for others it may take up to ten years.

You will receive official communication from the NVC on your application when a decision has been made.

Do you need help with your F2A or F2B Visa?

Our immigration attorneys are ready to help you with your F2A or F2B Visa application. We can provide a wide range of assistance, including in the following areas:

  • Assessing your eligibility for your visa application
  • Advising on the correct forms you need to submit
  • Supporting you in completing your visa application form to the highest standard
  • Remaining up to date with the latest F2A and F2B Visa bulletins to advise you when your visa might be accepted
  • Maintaining open communication with you and your family
  • Liaising with the NVC on your behalf while your application is pending

We look forward to speaking with you about your application. Phone our friendly advisers on +1 844 290 6312 or use the online contact form to get in touch.