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F2A Visa

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The F2A visa allows spouses and children of U.S. permanent residents to join them and reside in the country as a second preference family visa. The best part is that the applicants can also become permanent residents eventually. Most of them take help from lawyers to apply for this particular visa. Let us delve deeper and learn more about an F2A visa, its prerequisites, benefits, and other relevant details below.

Steps to Apply for the F2A Visa

The family members of the permanent residents have to follow a process to apply for the F2A visa. Each of these steps has its requirements as well as procedures, which are mentioned below:

  1. Complete Form I-130. The citizen or lawful permanent resident sponsor initiates the process by completing Form I-130. This form is also called the Petition for Alien Relatives and is filed on behalf of their spouse or child. This particular petition serves as the official request for family reunification.
  2. Submit for USCIS Review. The submitted Form I-130 is evaluated to ensure it complies with the requirements during the USCIS review. The latter assesses the validity of the marriage or parent-child relationship to establish the beneficiary's eligibility for an F2A visa.
  3. Await NVC Processing. The petition is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for additional processing upon approval. The NVC is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the visa application process. It takes the next steps to prepare for the visa application once the NVC receives the approved petition.
  4. Begin Visa Application. The actual F2A visa application process can commence once a visa application slot becomes available. Annual quotas and country-specific limits influence the availability of visa slots. So, the application and its timing may not be immediate.
  5. Undergo Medical Examination. Applicants may also have to undergo a medical examination. An approved panel physician usually conducts it during the visa application process. This examination ensures that the applicant does not pose a health risk. It further proves that the person complies with the health standards of the United States.
  6. Gather Necessary Documents. Applicants must gather and compile the necessary supporting documents to substantiate their eligibility for the F2A visa. These documents often include birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearances, passport-sized photos, and other relevant paperwork.
  7. Attend the Visa Interview. The applicant is scheduled for a visa interview at the embassy in their home country after collecting the required documentation. During the interview, consular officers will ask questions to assess the applicant's eligibility for the F2A visa.
  8. Receive NVC Packet and Arrange Travel to the U.S. The NVC will provide the applicant with a visa packet that includes further instructions and the visa itself if the interview is successful. The beneficiary can make arrangements to travel to the United States and join the sponsor with this packet in hand.

Eligibility for the F2A Visa

The spouse and the children must prove a bona fide relationship with the green card holder, also called a sponsor, for an F2A visa. Apart from that, there is a detailed eligibility criteria for this visa’s application process, such as:

Visa Eligibility Criteria for the Spouse

  • Must be a green card holder’s wife or husband
  • Should be able to prove the marriage is a legal one
  • Must be able to prove a legitimate relationship through various documents

Visa Eligibility Criteria for Children

  • Must be unmarried
  • Should be under 21 years
  • Must be the biological or adopted children of the permanent resident or green card holder in the U.S.
  • Must prove the parent-child relationship through appropriate documents. Examples include birth certificates as well as adoption papers
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Sponsor Requirements for the F2A Visa

Sponsoring a spouse or minor children for an F2A visa in the United States entails specific requirements. So, the specific sponsor must meet the following prerequisites to be eligible for this important role:

  • Establish the Relationship. A sponsor must provide compelling evidence of the bona fide relationship between themselves and the beneficiaries. This evidence is important to demonstrate the authenticity of the relationship. The same also helps ensure that it is not solely for immigration purposes.
  • Maintain Principal Residence. The sponsor must maintain their residence in the United States. Establishing the sponsor's connection to the country is a fundamental criterion. It also helps the sponsor assure immigration authorities of their intent to support the family in the country.
  • Have Financial Eligibility. The sponsor must have a stable income of at least 125% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines. It makes them eligible to sponsor their spouse or minor children. This financial threshold also demonstrates the sponsor's ability to provide adequate financial support to their family members upon their arrival in the United States.
  • Provide Financial Support. The sponsor must also prove their capability to financially support their spouse or unmarried children in the United States. This assurance is necessary to confirm that the family members will not become public charges and can be financially sustained by the sponsor.

Required Documents for the F2A Visa

Valid documents are extremely necessary for the applicants to get an F2A visa. Here is a common list of documents that every applicant must provide during the process:

  • Valid Passport: A particular immigrant document eligible for at least six months. The period is usually beyond the intended entry date into the U.S.
  • Form I-864: An affidavit of support that the petitioner from the United States must provide to the authorities.
  • Birth Certificate: If applicable, to establish age and familial relationship.
  • Marriage Certificate: If applicable, to confirm the marital relationship between sponsor and spouse.
  • Divorce Certificate of Previous Marriage: If applicable, to show termination of previous marriages.
  • Immigration Medical Examination Form: Completed by an approved panel physician to verify the health.
  • Passport-Size Photographs: Two passport-sized photographs of the beneficiaries.
  • Police or Court Certificate and Criminal Records: Depending on regulations, to verify legal background.
  • Military Records: If applicable, for individuals who have served in the military to complete a background check.

Key Terms for F2A Visas

  • Priority Date: The date the visa petition is filed, influencing the beneficiary's place in the visa queue.
  • Derivative Beneficiary: The spouse or child eligible for an F2A visa based on their relationship to the principal beneficiary.
  • Affidavit of Support: A legally binding document in which the sponsor commits to support the F2A visa beneficiary financially.
  • Numerical Quota: The annual limit on the number of F2A visas issued, leading to waiting periods for visa availability.
  • NVC Packet: A collection of documents and instructions provided by the National Visa Center (NVC) for visa applicants in preparation for their interview and U.S. travel.

Final Thoughts on F2A Visas

The F2A visa is a vital pathway for reunifying families in the United States. Meeting the requirements, gathering the essential documents, and adhering to visa bulletin updates are key to a successful journey despite the application process involving some complexities. The visa facilitates family unity and underscores the importance of strong relationships. It further ensures that spouses and unmarried children can build their lives together in the United States. These aspiring immigrants can also seek help from professional lawyers well-versed in the immigration process.

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