People living in the United States as citizens or lawful permanent residents can bring their family members to the United States. US citizens can bring their family members through the Immediate Relative visas. Lawful Permanent Residents can also use the Family Preference visas (Category F) for this purpose.
In the next paragraphs, we intend to study the details of the US F2A visa. Therefore you will learn about F2A visa status, the requirements, the application process, processing time, timeline, cost, and other details.
What is an F-2A visa?
Similarly, however differently, like IR1 and IR2 visas, this visa is a type of immigration status issued to the spouse and young children of Green Card holders. With this visa, US Lawful Permanent Residents can bring their family members to the United States and live together as a family. Unfortunately, there is an annual cap on the issuance of this visa. On the other hand, a significant number of applicants want to receive this visa. Therefore, the processing time for this visa is a bit long. But after receiving the visa, these people are considered permanent residents of the United States and can live and work in this country.
What are the requirements for obtaining an F2A visa?
F2A visa applicants must be able to prove their relationship with the US Lawful Permanent Residents by providing a birth certificate and marriage certificate. Also, children applying for this visa must be under 21 years old and unmarried.
The applicant or US Lawful Permanent Residents must also consider the following when applying for this visa:
- They must be at least 18 years old.
- They must live in the United States and have a valid address in this country.
How to apply for an F2A visa?
The US Lawful Permanent Resident must first file a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. If the petition is approved, the petitioner’s spouse or child can begin the visa application process via the US Embassy in their country. Therefore, the basic step is to obtain the necessary approvals. Otherwise, any attempt to obtain a visa will be in vain.
Submit a petition to USCIS
The US resident must first complete Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and submit it to USCIS. Besides, the petitioner must pay a fee for filing. The Department of Homeland Security then processes the petition. Afterward, USCIS announces the final result to the petitioner.
If the petition is rejected, the reasons will be explained to him/her. Otherwise, the file is submitted to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. From this point onward, this center will be responsible for handling the file.
The NVC first sends the necessary approvals to the petitioner and his/her spouse or child. The visa applicant then receives a package from NVC that contains information such as case number and invoice identification number. This package also contains instructions on how to apply for an F2A visa.
As the annual issuance of this visa is limited, NVC will only send the package to the applicant when his/her priority date becomes current. Therefore, once the petition is approved, the applicant cannot start the visa application process immediately.
Apply for an F2A visa
If the applicant’s priority date becomes current, he/she can begin the visa application process. Therefore, the petitioner’s spouse and child must perform the following steps in their own country:
1. Completion and submit Form DS-260
Most immigrant visa applicants must complete this form. Applicants can complete this form online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). Applicants must also use their case number issued by NVC to access this form.
The applicant must answer all the questions in this form carefully. After submitting Form DS-260, a confirmation page will appear that the applicant must save because, in the next steps, this page will be required.
If you want to know how to immigrate to the US as a hospitality worker, read our article.
2. Perform medical examination and vaccination
The NVC instructions explain to the applicant what tests and checkups should be performed and what vaccines should be given. At this step, the applicant must see a licensed physician perform some tests and complete and sign forms. Finally, the completed forms must be submitted to the NVC as part of the documentation.
3. Provide the necessary documents
Applicants for an F2A visa should demonstrate that they are qualified for an F2A visa. Therefore, they must submit the following documents to NVC:
- Valid passport: The passport of an F2A visa applicant must be valid for at least six months after entering the United States.
- Form I-864, Affidavit of Support which signed by the petitioner
- Documents related to medical examinations
- The spouse must provide a marriage certificate, and the child needs to provide a birth certificate.
- Two photos
- Form DS-260 confirmation page
- If the applicant is already married, he or she must provide evidence such as a death certificate or divorce certificate to prove that the previous marriage has ended.
- If the applicant has served in the military, he or she can also provide military records.
4. Participate in the interview
If all the applicant’s documents are complete and correct, NVC will schedule an interview at the embassy. On the interview day, the consular officer will inquire about the applicant’s purpose for immigrating to the United States and, in the end, decide whether the applicant is eligible for a visa. Therefore, the applicant must answer all questions carefully and honestly.
5. Get another NVC package and travel to the US
When the visa application is approved, NVC will deliver another package to the applicant through the embassy. Remember that the applicant should not open the package under any circumstances. Immigration officers will open this package in the United States, and they will decide whether the applicant is allowed to enter the United States or not.
What questions might be asked in a US F2A visa interview?
During the interview, The consular officer may tell you to give documents such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or wedding documents and ask questions. The consular officer probably asks the following questions:
- How long have you and the petitioner been married?
- Have you lived in another country for more than six months?
- Do you have any photos of your wedding party with you?
- When did your spouse arrive in the United States?
- Is your spouse a Lawful Permanent Resident or US citizen?
- In which US state does your spouse live?
- What is your spouse’s job?
- What is your spouse’s educational background?
- Have you been married before? If so, what is the status of your previous marriage?
- What will be your address in the US?
- Are you planning to work in the United States?
- Are you planning to continue your studies in the United States?
How much does it cost to apply for an F2A visa?
The applicant and the visa applicant will have to pay different fees for different services. The amount of these costs varies. Consequently, it is not possible to give an accurate estimate of it. In general, the following actions must be paid for:
- Filing Form I-130
- Form DS-260 processing
- Performing medical examinations
- Translation of documents into English
- Getting supporting documents
- USCIS Immigrant Fee: If the visa application is approved, the applicant must pay the fee before entering the United States. Otherwise, he will not be allowed to apply for a Green Card.
How long does it take to assess the submitted documents and issue an F2A visa?
Since the annual issuance of family-based immigrant visas is limited, as well as the number of applicants for these visas is significantly high, their processing time is a bit long.
Let’s sum up…
In this article, we overview the details of the F2A visa, including requirements, processing time, timeline, and other details. On the Visa Library website, you can learn about other US visas as well as how to immigrate to other countries.
If you have experience in the visa process, share it with other readers and us via the comments section. Conveying your experiences can significantly help other people with similar problems. We are also very pleased to receive your constructive comments and suggestions.