Beginning August 2013, the visa availability for F2A category of family based petitions will be current. Historically, the wait for this category was 3-4 years. The F2A category consists of spouses and single children under 21 years old of permanent residents.
This means a permanent resident can now petition their spouse and simultaneously file an adjustment of status application if the spouse is inside the United States under a valid status or if the spouse is grandfathered by INA section 245(i).
On the other hand if the spouse of the permanent resident is outside the United States, the permanent resident’s petition may be processed for immigrant visa issuance at the US Consulate abroad the moment the petition is approved. The spouse may also bring any minor children as derivative beneficiary under this petition.
In addition, the permanent resident petitioner may also directly petition any unmarried children under 21 years old. The definition of child includes “step child.” The child may simultaneously file an application for adjustment of status to legal permanent resident if inside the United States provided the beneficiary is either in valid status or grandfathered by INA section 245(i). If the child is outside the United States, the child can apply for an immigrant visa through the US consulate overseas as soon as the petition is approved.
With the recent US Supreme Court decision in US v. Windsor, a permanent resident in a same sex marriage relationship may now file a petition for the benefit of their alien spouse. The same rules apply to same sex marriages as to heterosexual marriages. Under both, the parties would still have to introduce evidence of a bona fide marriage.
Permanent residents intending to petition their spouse and minor children should take advantage of the current F2A visa availability. The tendency is for these numbers to retrogress once the USCIS begin receiving large numbers of petitions.
Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail [email protected]; Website kenreyeslaw.com.