Question: What does it mean that the F2A category is now current?
Answer: The Immigration and Nationality Act sets numerical limits on the number of visas that will be issued each year to categories of prospective immigrants. The F2A category is a family-based visa category that applies to spouses of lawful permanent residents and their unmarried children under 21 years of age.
Every month, the U.S. Department of State issues a bulleting that informs the public about how many visas are currently available since there are generally more potential immigrants than there are available visas. In recent memory, the F2A category has always had a long wait (often two to three years). The August 2013 visa bulleting, however, indicated that the F2A category is now current. The category is also current for September.
This means spouses of lawful permanent residents who are currently lawfully in the United States may immediately file the I-130 petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status application to get a green card. Both forms may be filed concurrently as long as the category stays current.
If a spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 is currently residing outside of the United States, the individual is eligible to apply for Consular Processing if they have an approved I-130. Individuals without an approved I-130 petition may wish to file as soon as possible to take advantage of this recent change as it is unknown how long the F2A category will remain current. It is likely the category will experience some retrogression in the coming months.
Please consult an immigration attorney if you think you may be able to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.
Question: What is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals?
Answer: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was announced on June 15, 2012. The program allows qualifying immigrants who first came to the United States as children to stay in the country for two years without the risk of being placed in removal proceedings regardless of their past or current immigration status.
The two-year “deferred action” period allows applicants to gain work authorization and live in the United States without fear of being deported. DACA does not, however, provide applicants with lawful status and is not a path to citizenship.
To qualify for consideration under the program, applicants mush show they:
1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
2. Came to the United States before reaching their 16th birthday;
3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
6. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran; and
7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security of public safety.
Please contact an immigration attorney if you feel you may be eligible for this program. The application process can be complex, and you must provide adequate documentation. A licensed attorney can help you with this process and answer your legal questions.
Emil Dixon is the founder of the Davis Legal Center, a private law office located in Davis, California.