According to the latest visa bulletin (August 2013), preference category F2A is now current! F2A is the visa immigrant classification category assigned to spouses and children under 21 of lawful permanent residents. For some time now, visa availability for this category has been close to two years behind. As of August, however, the category appears to be current. What does this mean practically? It means that should a lawful permanent resident file an immigrant visa for his/her spouse, the waiting and processing time-in theory–should be comparable to that of a United States citizen filing for his/her spouse. Of course, this is all subject to change, and visa availability can easily retrogress by the next month if this category becomes heavily oversubscribed. In contrast, if one is a United States Citizen, one need not worry about visa availability and “retrogression” because the visa is automatically available since the spouse and/or child under 21 is considered an “Immediate Relative.” The only wait times that a US Citizen will undergo is the normal processing time, which should be distinguished from visa availability. Nevertheless, the sudden movement in this preference category is encouraging and will hopefully serve to reunite lawful permanent residents with their family members much sooner than they might have anticipated, given the estimated visa and processing delays. Let’s hope that it stays current.
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