F2A Visa Explained

F2A Visa Explained

What is the F2A visa?

The F2a visa is a sort of family preference visa that permits LPRs in the United States to petition for their spouse or children.

A person with an F2a visa may:

  • Be able to reside and work in the United States without first obtaining an employment authorization document from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

  • Get a Social Security number and utilize it to get work.

  • To improve their education, they should enroll in a school or university.

What are family preference visas?

People with family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are eligible for family preference visas. Depending on your relationship with a US citizen, there are various types of family preference visas.

  • F1 Visa: Unmarried children of US citizens and their children are eligible for the F1 or family first priority visa.

  • F2 Visa: Spouses, minor children, and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents of the United States are eligible for the F2 visa.

  • F3 Visa: Married children of US citizens and their children are eligible for the F3 family third priority visa.

  • F4 Visa: Siblings of US citizens, as well as their spouses and unmarried children, are eligible for the F4 visa.

F2 visas are further broken down into two types:

F2A Visa; Spouses and minor children of U.S. lawful permanent residents are eligible for F2a visas.

F2B Visa: Unmarried offspring of lawful permanent residents over the age of 21 can apply for F2b visas.

Who can apply for an F2A visa?

An F2a visa cannot be applied for directly by foreign nationals. Instead, the permanent resident must petition for their spouse or children to be admitted to the United States.

You must do the following to petition on behalf of your spouse or children:

1. Be over the age of 18

2. Live in the United States and have a permanent registered address there

Your spouse or children must be able to present all required documentation and not be ruled ineligible.

What are the required documents for the F2A visa application?

1. Passport

2. The petitioner's affidavit of support

3. Visa application F4

4. Two passport photos that have been approved in the United States

5. Medical examination and vaccination forms completed

6. Civil records;

  • Adoption certificate or birth certificate

  • Any court documents

  • Marriage certificate certified copy

  • If there are any military records,

  • A photocopy of their passport's biographic information page

  • Police certification for each nation they have visited

Any mandatory immunizations or medical records will be communicated to you by the National Visa Center. The medical checkup and vaccinations must be completed by a licensed doctor. The US Department of State's website has a list of recommended vaccines.

Is there an application cap for F2A visas?

The National Visa Center will tell you of any vaccinations that are required. Due to a quota, only 114,200 F2 visas are available each year. F2a visas are designated for 77% of these visas. F2b visas provide for the remaining 23%.

Excess petitions are rolled over in chronological order to subsequent years until their priority dates become current. Each month, the US Department of State publishes the priority date cut-off dates in the visa bulletin.

What is the application process for an F2A visa?

In order to apply for family preference, the permanent resident must first file a petition. Following acceptance, their family members may apply for a visa at the US consulate or embassy in their native country.

1: Submitting a petition
The LPR begins the application process by filing Form I-130 with the US Department of Homeland Security and paying the required fee (DHS). You can also use Form G-1450 to pay with a credit card.

2: The petition is being looked into.
The petition is processed after it is submitted, which can take several months. The petitioner is subsequently notified by the USCIS whether or not their petition was granted.

If your petition is denied, you will be told of the reason for the rejection. The petition is sent to the National Visa Center if it is approved (NVC).

3. Obtaining a case number
The permission documentation will be sent to you, your spouse, and your children by the NVC. The petition's case number, directions for the following steps, fees, and payment instructions are all included in the paperwork.

Your spouse and children may apply for an F2a visa after the NVC completes the petition and sends its approval.

4: Payment of fees and submission of documents
Your spouse and children must pay the application fees at the US consulate or embassy in their home country. Following payment, they will submit the following:

The DS-260 form is completed online. Your spouse and children must provide their NVC-assigned case number to link their application to the authorized petition in order to access the form. They'll also have to fill out Form DS-261 (unless they have an attorney).

It's worth noting that the affidavit of support specifies that you'll keep sponsoring your spouse and children until they've worked for 40 quarters in the United States or become citizens. This usually takes ten years.

5. To obtain their F2a visas, your spouse and children must attend a visa interview at a US consulate or embassy in their native country.

The NVC will schedule an interview for your spouse and children if it is satisfied with the supplied documentation. They will be quizzed about their background during the interview.

6. Approval of visa
Your spouse and children will be granted F4 visas at the discretion of a consular or embassy official.

The consulate or embassy official stamps their passports once they have been approved. They'll also get a sealed packet of documents that they must not open. This envelope can only be opened by a US immigration officer as they enter the nation.

What happens when an F2A visa application is denied?

If a visa applicant is denied based on a ground of inadmissibility, it may be possible to secure a waiver of inadmissibility. Grounds of inadmissibility are

  • Medical and health reasons

  • Convictions for crimes

  • Concerns about national securityPossibility of becoming a public charge

  • Misrepresentation or fraud

  • Removals in the past or unauthorized presence

  • Other considerations

The reason for someone's denial will determine whether they are eligible for a waiver. For more legal advice, contact a US immigration attorney.

How much are the F2A visa application fees?

Currently, the fee for a long term permanent resident to submit a Form I-130 on behalf of their spouse or children is $535.

Once the petition is approved, the application fee for a family preference visa is $325. This fee is paid per application.

You may expect to incur other expenses from medical examinations to vaccinations, passports, photocopying, translation services and other services during the application process.

How long is the F2A visa application process?

The processing time for an F2a visa petition and application can take a long time due to the annual cap on the number of visas issued.

The processing time for an F2a visa petition and application can range from 1 - 10 years to due to the annual cap on the number of visas issued.

When a permanent resident petitioner becomes a naturalized citizen, what happens?

In some cases, a long term permanent resident petitioning on behalf of their spouse and children might become a naturalized U.S. citizen during the process.

If this occurs in your case, your family should contact USCIS and the embassy in their country. They are now eligible for an immediate relative visa, which doesn’t have a cap on the number of applications accepted each year. This may accelerate the processing time for your visa.

What else should I prepare for the F2A visa application process?

While your spouse awaits word on their visa application, they can start planning their new life in the United States. Did you realize, for example, that their credit history does not instantly transfer to the United States after they immigrate? That means that no record of the F2a visa applicant's previous financial history will be kept by US companies or financial institutions. As a result, obtaining loans, securing an apartment lease, mobile phone companies, and other service providers might be extremely tough.


I hope this information was useful. Complex immigration processing can be incredibly complicated and stressful for everyone. Before filing this application, you should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.

Immigrationservice.com can assist you and will be there for you every step of the journey. Please contact us via phone or email.