There are many types of visas within the Family Preference visas and all are marked with the prefix F. One of these is the F2 visa, reserved for spouses, minor children, and adult children of LPRs in foreign countries. Second Preference Family Visas have two categories:
- F2A visa for spouses and minor children of LPR
- F2B visa for unmarried children over 21 years of age of LPR
Family Preference visas have a limited number. These visas have an allocated amount of 114,200 visas per year. This maximum visa limit is divided as follows between the two categories:
- The F2A visa gets at least 79,940 visas or 70% of the total number of visas
- The F-2B visa gets 34,260 visas or less than 30% of the total
This article will look at the F2A visa, what it is, its requirements, the application process and other relevant details.
What is the F2A visa?
The F2A visa is a U.S. immigrant visa for spouses or minor children of Green Card holders. This visa is designed to allow U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to bring these certain family members to the United States permanently.
Since the F2A visa has a cap or limitation on the number, demand is high and waiting times are quite long. However, after obtaining them, family members of LPRs will become permanent residents of the United States and will be able to live in the United States, work and study.
Who can get the F2A visa?
To apply for an F2A visa you must meet the following conditions:
- Children must be under 21 years old.
- Children must be unmarried.
- Be able to demonstrate your relationship with the sponsor in the United States.
In addition to the eligibility requirements for family members who will receive the F2A visa, there are also requirements for Legal Permanent Residents applying for their family members, such as:
- The LPR must be at least 18 years old to sign various documents and accept the conditions
- The LPR must live in the United States and have an address registered with the authorities in the United States.
How to apply for an F2A visa?
The F2A application process is divided into two parts:
U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Petitions for Spouse or Minor Children to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Once the petition is approved, your spouse or child must contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country
The application must begin in the United States through the petition and the LPR. If your spouse or child attempts to apply for the F2A visa without an approved application, they will not be considered.
Presentation of the petition:
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be submitted to USCIS by the US LPR. The petition is sent to USCIS’s Department of Homeland Security. The LPR is required to pay a fee, which is determined by USCIS.
The petition is then processed by USCIS and a response on approval or denial is then sent to the applicant. If the petition is denied, there will be a reason why it was denied so that the LPR can then correct any problems and resubmit the request. The paperwork will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for additional processing if the petition is granted.
The NVC will send approval documents to the applicant and the applicant (spouse or child) with a case identification number and invoice, as well as instructions on what to do next. The documents will also contain all the information about what taxes to pay and how to pay them.
Since there is a limit for the F2A visa, the applicant will not be able to apply from their home country if the date is not up to date. NVC takes into account the number of petitions for each year and if your petition exceeds the 80,000 visa limit, your request will be processed next year.
Application for F2A visa:
If your date is current, the NVC will order you to begin the application process for the F2A visa. Your spouse or child must apply for a visa through a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The applicant does not need to submit documents to USCIS for this part of the application process.
DS-260 file form:
Form DS-260, Electronic Immigrant Visa Application is the form that all immigrant visa applicants must submit. It is done online and will ask about your personal and background information, as well as the reasons why you are immigrating to the United States. You will also be asked to write your NVC case number and invoice ID number. You must fill out the appropriate sections and then submit it. After submission, you will receive a page with your confirmation number which you will need to submit to NVC as part of your document file.
Complete medical examination and vaccination:
Medical examination and vaccinations are mandatory for all those immigrating to the United States. You will have a set of documents on what checks you need to complete and a list of vaccinations. You must complete the examination with a licensed doctor who will sign your documents and declare that you have had the necessary vaccinations.
Fill out the F2A visa document file:
Your document file must contain all the necessary documentation to support your case. You must convince the NVC and the US Embassy or Consulate that you meet all the requirements and are eligible to obtain the F2A visa.
The document file for the F2A visa must contain the following:
- Your passport is valid for more than 6 months after your intended entry into the United States.
- A signed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support from the U.S. petitioner or the LPR (petitioner’s spouse or parent).
- DS-260 form confirmation page.
- Medical examination and vaccination documents.
- Two photographs per US Visa photo requirements.
- If you are the spouse of the LPR, you must bring your marriage certificate with you.
- If you are a child of the LPR you will need to bring your birth or adoption certificate with you
- Judicial and criminal records or police certificates.
If you have been previously married, you must bring your divorce or death certificates to show that the marriage has been officially dissolved.
If you served in the military, you must bring your military documents with you.
Attend the interview:
Once NVC processes your documents and ensures that you meet all the requirements, it will schedule your visa interview. The interview will be conducted at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying. The interviewer will ask you questions about your background and then determine whether or not you will get the F2A immigrant visa.
Get the NVC package and travel to the United States:
If the US Embassy approves your visa, then you are on your way to coming to the United States permanently. When they issue the visa to your passport, the Embassy will also give you a sealed package of documents. You cannot open this package under any circumstances. You will need to bring it with you when you travel to the United States and an immigration officer will open it. This is a requirement to successfully enter the United States.
How much does the F2A visa cost?
There are various fees that the applicant and applicant need to pay throughout the F2A visa application process. The Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, and the specific US embassy or consulate to which you are applying determine the fees, which can vary. The main categories of fees to be paid are the following:
- Form I-130 filing fee:
- Processing fee for DS-260 form
- Expenses for medical visits and vaccinations
- Fees for obtaining and translating all supporting documents
USCIS immigrant fee that you must pay after receiving your visa and before traveling to the United States. USCIS will not issue you a green card without you paying this fee.
What is the F2A visa processing time?
The processing time for the F2A visa varies. Your date must become current for you to begin the application process after your petition is approved. The NVC processes visas in chronological order, so it depends on how many applications were submitted before you. This means that it usually takes a year or more for your date to become current and therefore the processing time is quite long.
Can I access American healthcare with an F2A visa?
Yes, you will have access to healthcare in the United States as an F2A visa holder, however, the costs of obtaining medical care in the United States are among the highest in the world.
Treating a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while hospitalization in a US hospital can cost over $10,000 on average. You should choose the health insurance plan for F2A visa holders that is best for you, which is overall also affordable and covers your needs.
What if the applicant LPR obtains US citizenship while the F2A visa is being processed?
Since the F2A processing time is quite long, the LPR could obtain US citizenship in the meantime. This means that your spouse and children are entitled to a different type of visa, which is the Immediate Relatives (IR) visa. This visa does not have a limit so the processing is much faster.
The applicant will then have the opportunity to submit other petitions to process the visa.