Integrity Legal

30th June 2010

This blog primarily reports upon issues revolving around US Family Visas. With that in mind the following announcement was made in a press release from the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Ombudsman, this quote is provided by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA):

During FY 2009 and FY 2010, usage of family-based visas has been exceptionally low, especially among spouses and children of green card holders (the F-2A preference category). In FY 2009, approximately 10,000 family-based visas were unused and, by statute, were reallocated for use by employment-based immigrants in FY 2010.

It is interesting to note the relative lack of interest in Family based visas under preference category F-2A because, in this author’s experience, there is little decline in the demand for spouse and family based visas for the immediate relatives of American Citizens. That said, there seems to have been a slight decrease in demand for the K1 visa in Thailand, but this is likely attributable to the recent unrest in the city of Bangkok.

For those readers who are unaware, United States Citizens may petition for their foreign fiancee to travel to the USA on a K1 Fiance Visa. After arrival the fiancee must marry the American petitioner within 90 days of entry and subsequently file an application for adjustment of status. Those American Citizens with a spouse overseas may petition for a US Marriage Visa. There are multiple marriage visa categories although the once popular K3 Visa is no longer being processed by the National Visa Center where the underlying visa petition arrives contemporaneously or before the K3 visa application.

For those who are not United States Citizens, a K1 visa is not available for the fiancees of Lawful Permanent Residents. Furthermore, the spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident is not given high priority compared to the spouse of a US Citizen. This preference has existed for a relatively long period of time. There are those who argue for “rolling over” the balance of preference petitions in order to provide a chance for later applicants to enjoy the higher relative priority. That being said, current Immigration policy favors employment petitions if there is are any unused visa numbers in the aforementioned family based category.

Some speculate that Comprehensive Immigration Reform will have a dramatic impact upon the overall Immigration system, but for now the current system remains and those seeking a family based visa in the F-2a category would be wise to file sooner rather than later.


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