As many of our readers know, Green Card holders can not confer immediate benefits on Spouses and Children under 21. There is a waiting period determined by the Visa Bulletin. But according to the August 2013 Bulletin, the F2A category (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents), will become current.
What does that mean?
If you are a Permanent Resident (Green Card holder), and your spouse is currently legal in the United States, as of August 1, 2013 you could file for Adjustment of Status (I-485 Benefits). That will include an application for a Green Card, Work Authorization, as well as a travel permit. The work card will be issued in 60-90 days in most jurisdictions.
What if I have a pending I-130 from few years back?
On August 1 and afterwards you could file for form I-485 as well as the work and travel authorization. If no applications were filed, now is the time to prepare your I-130/485 packages.
I heard that as a Green Card holder it is better to become a US Citizen before filing for my Spouse, is that correct?
It was correct before August 1, 2013, but now that the Visa bulletin is current there is no need to wait any longer. Green Card holders can file for spouses and Adjust their status, just like US Citizens.
What if the Visa Bulletin will retrogress back in September, what will happen to our cases?
If the Visa Bulletin will retrogress, your spouse will remain in the US legally and continue to benefit from the work and travel benefits. Once the Visa Bulletin becomes current again in the future, the Green Card will be approved. But there will be no need to leave the US.
We are a Same Sex Couple and my Spouse is a Green Card holder, can we benefit from this advance in the Visa Bulletin?
Yes, now that Section 3 of DOMA has been repealed, the same benefits that apply to non LGBT couples apply to same sex couples. We suggest that you marry in a state that allows same sex marriage first. Once you have obtained a marriage certificate you could file for the I-130/485 at the same time as long as your spouse is legally present in the US.
What if my Spouse is overseas?
If your spouse is overseas you will need to proceed with filing the I-130 as soon as possible. There is no guarantee that the Visa Bulletin will remain current for long. So if at all possible try to bring the spouse to the US legally to speed up the process.
What is my spouse is illegal in the US?
You will need to seek the analysis of an immigration lawyer to see if there are any mitigating circumstances for an adjustment of status.
Bottom line, these are amazing news for many Green Card holders and their spouses. Proper planning is important to make sure this filing is done correctly and avoid any rejections as we can not tell how long this category will remain current.
Email us for a consultation to determine your eligibility.
See the August 2013 below, see F2A C means current