August 2013 Visa Bulletin Surprise for Spouses of Lawful Permanent Residents

The Department of State has released the Visa Bulletin for August and it contains welcome news for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s) who wish to sponsor their spouses and/or children for a green card.

The F2A category, previously oversubscribed and subject to a waiting list of several years, will become “current” as of August 1, 2013. This means that Immigrant Visas or “green cards” are available to all applicants in this category without a waiting list. Individuals in the following situations should be prepared to take advantage of this unexpected situation:

  • If you are the foreign national spouse of an LPR, are lawfully present in the US as a nonimmigrant, have already had a Visa Petition (Form I-130) filed on your behalf by your spouse and were on the waiting list, whether the I-130 is approved or still pending, you may file for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) during the month of August.
  • If you are a foreign national lawfully present in the US as a nonimmigrant and you now marry an LPR, you may have your spouse file a Visa Petition on your behalf and file for Adjustment of Status during the month of August.

When an Adjustment of Status application (together with the associated Form I-765 and Form I-131) is properly filed, the applicant will be issued an employment authorization (EAD) and travel authorization (Advance Parole) document within about four to twelve weeks of filing. Even if the F2A visa numbers regress and become backlogged after August (which is likely), the Adjustment of Status will remain pending for as long as it takes for the priority date to become current, and the employment and travel authorization will continue.

If the visa numbers do regress after August, this opportunity will disappear. Foreign nationals who wish to file for Adjustment of Status should be prepared to do so as quickly as possible after August 1 and no later than the end of August!

Most applicants should be able to acquire and prepare the necessary documents without significant delay. A birth certificate is always required for an Adjustment of Status and steps should be taken to procure the proper document from abroad to avoid delay. The same is true for any other foreign documents required, for example, proof of termination of any prior marriage. An English translation, if necessary, can be done in the U.S. The applicant will also require a Medical Examination Report from a “Civil Surgeon” authorized by the Immigration Service so an appointment with the physician should be made as soon as possible. It bears repeating that this opportunity is unlikely to extend beyond August and all required documents must be available in time to properly file an application.

Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.