The US has been a long-time proponent of the phenomenon known as chain migration. It allows its citizens and LPRs to appeal to the USCIS and bring family members into the country. Thus, the family-based categories for visas were created under the INA.

Specifically, out of the 3,909,684 family members on the shortlist, 436,269 belong to the F2 Visa category. They make up 10% of all the applicants on the list and have a 31% quota.‬ The quota system limits how many visas do get stamped in a year. Moreover, there are other filters that these individuals have to pass through to become LPRs themselves.

Family Preference Categories

Before we enter the nitty gritty of the F2 Visa Process, let us familiarize our readers with the family preference categories. Specific but more distant family relatives of US citizens can apply for a visa in this class. However, grandparents, cousins, in-laws, aunts, and uncles cannot be sponsors.

The different classes are:

First Preference (F1)

This class has a wait time for 1-2 years. It is specifically for the unmarried offspring of US citizens. Their country of origin may play a role in the extension of wait time. For instance, the durations for Mexico and the Philippines can be as long as 5 and 11 years.

Second Preference (F2)

The Second Preference Green Card is for the families of the unmarried offspring who have turned 21 or older. Spouses and kids account for almost 77% of all family preference visas available in this category. The quota system allows 114,200 visas each year. The wait times are similar to the first preference visas.

Third Preference (F3)

Offspring and families who are married can apply through this class. The quota is for 23,400 with a longer wait, i.e., 3-4 years.

Fourth Preference (F4)

Siblings of US citizens and their families provided the sponsor is 21 or older, may apply in this category. About 65,000 visas may get stamped in a year, and the wait time is even longer, i.e., 10 years. The duration is 19 years for the Philippines.

Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas

Readers shouldn’t confuse the family preference visa class with IR classes. The latter are granted to closely related family of a US citizen. There isn’t a limit on the IR visas, and they divide into the following categories:

  • Spouses apply for an IR-1 visa
  • Unmarried but not yet 21 kids go for the IR-2 visa
  • Orphans adopted outside of the US can come into the country via an IR-3
  • Those orphans adopted within may apply for an IR-4
  • Parents can use the IR-5 visa

Whether your case belongs in the IR or F pile can sometimes be tricky to decide. Ask for an attorney’s help to get at the right decision!

Second Preference Visa Application Process

The following steps outline the process of the F2 Visa Application:

File Form I-130

The sponsor begins by filing Form I-130, which usually is done from within the US. However, your lawyer can guide you on the possibilities of a US citizen abroad acting as your sponsor. The filing fee is $535.

The Case Gets Transferred to the NVC

F2 Visa Requirements include different kinds of documentation along with Form DS-260. However, this won’t happen until USCIS approves and sends your petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will give it a case number, and your name gets on the shortlist.

Wait Until a Visa Becomes Available

After it, you must wait until all the backlog is cleared up, and a visa becomes available for you. That’s when the NVC will ask you to complete Form DS-261, provided you don’t have an attorney yet. If you do, then you can submit the following documents:

  • Passport that’s going to be valid even after six months of the date of entry into the US
  • Affidavit of Support – could be Form I-864 or I-864A, EZ, or W
  • Form DS-260
  • Two photographs taken to satisfy the requirements of the NVC
  • Civil documents, such as proof of birth and marriage. You may need to get your papers translated into English and must submit legible photocopies of everything.
  • Finally, your medical examination and vaccinations proof will also be required

The fee for this step is $445, excluding the examination that can cost between $60-$300. It varies with the institution in question.

Consular Processing

Then, NVC sends your file off to the Embassy/Consulate in your country. The latter will let you know when your interview is. Bring all your documents from above along and be ready to pay the Immigrant fee, i.e., $220.

Attend the Visa Interview

Your F2 Visa Interview will happen at the U.S. embassy. The consular officer who is in charge of your case will decide if you are eligible for immigration. They may tell you the result right then, or you’ll get your visa several days/weeks later.

How Much Does a Second Preference (F2) Visa Cost?

If we add in the minimum value of medical examination, i.e., $60, you will be paying $1,260.

Family Members

The family would need to follow the same procedures, including submission of paperwork, to get their own visa. They’ll also need to prove that the principal applicant is still a legal LPR. That, and the proper filing of I-130 should be sufficient to work in their favor.

Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!

Eric Price and team deal with immigration cases with expediency because they know time matters in these situations. They are also well-known as compassionate and professional experts in the legal circles. Moreover, as you saw above, there are several categories for family preference visa applications. If you didn’t choose the correct one, you may be wasting your time – the experiment can also be a costly one! Do you want to wait for 5-10 years to discover that you didn’t apply in the right category? We didn’t think you would! So, choose an attorney who is familiar with the proceedings of the immigration process.

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