Second Preference (F2A)
If you have a green card, your spouse and children under 21 years may come and live permanently in the U.S.
U.S. immigration law currently supports family migration. That means U.S. citizens and green-card holders (legal permanent residents) can file family petitions on behalf of close relatives to enable them to immigrate to the U.S. and reunify with family.
In addition, immigration law allows your spouse to apply for a work permit using Form 765 (Application for Employment Authorization) while a green-card application is pending.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help with not only the green card process but also applying for a work permit.
If you are helping your spouse and children apply for green cards, you should be cautious about timing. Speak with an immigration attorney about the process.
To apply for a green card,
- Your child must be under 21 years of age and unmarried.
- You must file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) on behalf of each green-card applicant to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Each relative who comes to the U.S. based on a family petition must have a financial sponsor. If you will be the financial sponsor or your spouse and child, you must file Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support). If you don’t meet the financial qualifications, another individual will need to make the commitment and file Form I-864 on their behalf.
Your spouse and children may apply for a green card from either inside or outside the United States.
Each relative who comes to the U.S. through family must have a financial sponsor. You must file Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support).
If your spouse and children are already in the U.S. legally, you must be cautious about the timing of the filing. As stated before, we recommend consulting with an immigration attorney. Once that is done, the quickest and easiest way to apply is to:
- The U.S. citizen files Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
- After it gets approved and the priority date becomes current, the foreign spouse and children are eligible to finalize the green card process.
- The applicant fills out Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), while the financial sponsor fills out Form I-864.
- Submit all forms along with all supporting documents to USCIS.
If your spouse and children are outside the U.S., they may apply for green cards at a U.S. embassy or consulate. To apply:
- The U.S. citizen must submit Form I-130 and supporting evidence to USCIS.
- Await the approval and the priority date.
- The financial sponsor must submit Form I-864 and supporting evidence to USCIS.
- If USCIS approves the petitions, the U.S. Department of State will invite your spouse and children to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
- Your spouse should pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee after receiving an immigrant visa packet from the U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to the U.S.
- Once your spouse and children are in the U.S., they should submit Form I-485 along with supporting evidence to USCIS for a green card.
We Can Help
Figuring out immigration law can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming. The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help you reunite with your family. Contact us.