How can a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. bring their spouse and/or children into the U.S. to live with them?


If you traveled to the U.S. and obtained the appropriate documentation that now classifies you as a lawful permanent resident (LPR), you likely want to bring your spouse and/or children to the U.S. to live with you from your native country. To be clear, a lawful permanent resident (LPR) is “any person [who is] not a citizen of the United States who is living in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant” [Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services].

While LPR’s are given the right to bring over certain family members from other countries, if you are inquiring about bringing your spouse and/or your unmarried children who are under the age of 21 into the U.S., then there are a few things you need to know regarding the process you must follow in order for your loved ones to be issued an F-2A visa.


How do I apply for an F2-A family-based immigrant visa for my spouse and children?


You will need to fill out and file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS. This form is used for both U.S. citizens and LPR’s to apply for an F-2A visa for certain family members who are living abroad. You will need to submit an I-130 for each family member you are petitioning to bring over. Once you file Form I-130 and USCIS approves it, your spouse and/or child will need to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. They will also need to fill out and file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application. It is important to understand that if any mistakes are made on your application or you forgot to submit a required document that USCIS requested aside from Form I-130, your application could be denied.


What eligibility requirements must an LPR meet to file Form I-130?


According to the U.S. Department of State, USCIS requires that LPR’s must be at least 18 years of age and have a residence in the United States before he or she can sign an Affidavit of Support, Form I-864or I-864-EZ. USCIS requires that this form also be completed in order for your spouse or children to be issued an F-2A visa.

Now, based on your status, your spouse and/or children would fall under the Family Second Preference (F2) category. What is this means is that once their application is accepted and all requirements are met, they may be subjected to a waiting period as these types of visas have a limit on the number that are issued each year.


What is the yearly cap for F-2A visas?


While visas are not limited for immediate family members of U.S. citizens, USCIS does limit the number of F-2A visas they give out each year to spouses and minor children of LPR’s. Currently, USCIS has limited the number of visas issued for the Family Second Preference (F2) category to 114,200. This number can change each year so it is best to check with USCIS for updates as to whether this number has gone up or down. Keep in mind that the F2 category also includes visas issued to spouses, unmarried minor children and unmarried children who are over the age of 21 which means not all are allocated for minor children.


In what order does USCIS process the petitions?


USCIS will process petitions in the order in which they were “properly filed.” In order for USCIS to consider your application to have been “properly filed,” it must be “fully completed and signed, and the filing fee must be paid.”

Now, at any point during the filing process you become uncertain of something or you aren’t sure if you have filled out all the required forms USCIS will need in order to process your petition for a family visa, it is best you contact one of our F-2A visa lawyers. Our visa attorneys will not only review all the paperwork you have but help determine if something is missing, which could cause your spouse and/or child to be denied an F-2A visa.

Therefore, if you would like to be connected with an F-2A attorney who can provide you with the guidance you might need, contact today.