July 31, 2013

According to August Visa Bulletin, F2A category (which is reserved for spouses and minor children of green card holders) will be “Current” during the month of August. It was stated that visa numbers for F2A category would continue to be “Current” for a few months. This practically means that the spouse of a green card holder will be able to file the adjustment of status application immediately together with the immediate relative petition. As widely known, spouses of green card holders generally have to wait for 2 to 3 years for this stage since the visa numbers are not readily available in F2A category. August Visa bulletin presents a rare and surprisingly beautiful opportunity for spouses of green card holders. Please keep in mind that this is not a new law, it is just an update on the visa numbers on the monthly published visa bulletin.

Once the application is filed with USCIS, applicants will receive their work authorization and travel documents within 3-4 months. This will enable them to also apply for a social security number and a driver license. If visa numbers retrogress (meaning the visa numbers become unavailable) while the application is pending, this will present no practical issue since work and travel authorizations will be valid and can be renewed as long as the green card application is pending. Applicants who already have a pending or approved immediate relative petition will also be able to apply for adjustment of status (along with work and travel authorization document) during August.

It is important to note that only those who are in legal status within U.S. will benefit from this update. Those who do not have a legal status need to wait for their spouse to become a US citizen. This update may or may not have an effect (depending on how long visa availability will last) on spouses of green card holders who are not in the U.S. in a legal status and living overseas. Spouses living overseas must first have an approved immediate relative petition to go forward with the consular appointment.

Remzi Guvenc Kulen, Esq.