Spouses and children of Lawful Permanent Residents take note: the October Visa Bulletin has established a “cut-off” date of September 8, 2013 in the F2A visa category. This will have a major impact on those individuals planning to apply for a green card on the basis of this relationship.
Background: after reflecting a significant waiting list in the F2A visa category for many years, this category became “current” in August-and remained current in September. This unexpected development allowed the Immigration Service to begin approving previously filed adjustment of status applications previously stuck in the wait list (and American Consulates to issue F2A visas for those whose applications were ready for final processing). In addition, it allowed individuals in the US who had not previously filed an I-130 Visa Petition-and who were otherwise eligible*- to file a Visa Petition AND I-485 Adjustment of Status application concurrently with the Immigration Service on the basis of this relationship.
The most common beneficiaries of this development were those who were already married to a Lawful Permanent Resident-and those able to enter into marriage with a Lawful Permanent Resident during this summer. Significantly, this now includes lawfully married same-sex couples.
The advent of the September 8 cut-off date, effective October 1, will have the following impact:
1. Those eligible applicants who have not previously begun the process with the filing of a Visa Petition may still do so concurrently with an Adjustment of Status application prior to September 30.
2. Applicants who already established a Priority Date with the filing of a Visa Petition before September 8, 2013 may continue to file Adjustment of Status applications during the month of October 2013.
3. Properly filed Adjustment of Status applications will result in the issuance of an Employment Authorization Document and Advance Parole Authorization-typically within 1 to 2 months of filing.
4. Even if a backlog develops, properly filed Adjustment of Status applications will remain pending with continued eligibility for work and travel for as long as it takes for the applicants’ Priority Date to be reached again.
Please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.
*Generally, the applicant must have a proper entry to the U.S. and must be maintaining a lawful nonimmigrant status. This excludes individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection, who have overstayed their period of authorized stay, or who have been employed without authorization from the Immigration Service.