How to Bring Your Spouse and Child to the US with F2A Family Preference Visa



The F2A family preference visa enables spouses and unmarried children under 21 of lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to come to the United States. This visa category is crucial for keeping families together and helping spouses and children settle in the U.S.

This article will cover several topics. First, we will explore the process and requirements for obtaining the F2A visa. Then, we will outline the step-by-step application procedures, the essential documentation needed, interview preparation tips, and what to expect upon arriving in the United States.

Additionally, we’ll discuss the pathway to adjusting status and obtaining permanent residency for F2A visa holders. Whether you are a green card holder seeking to bring your spouse and child to the U.S. or someone interested in understanding the F2A visa, this guide will provide the necessary information to navigate the process successfully.

Understanding the F2A Family Preference Visa and Its Purpose

Bringing your spouse and child to the United States can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. The F2A visa enables immediate family members to reunite with their loved ones who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. Families can live together and create cherished memories in the land of opportunities.

Benefits and Limitations of the F2A Visa

Here’s a list of benefits and limitations of the F2A Visa:


  1. Family Reunification: F2A Visa allows spouses and unmarried children under 21 to join lawful permanent residents in the U.S.
  2. Work Authorization: F2A visa holders can apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) to legally work in the U.S.
  3. Education Opportunities: F2A visa holders can enroll in educational institutions, opening up possibilities for personal and professional growth.
  4. Healthcare Access: F2A visa holders can access healthcare facilities and services in the U.S.
  5. No Quota Restrictions: There is no annual cap on the number of F2A visas issued, ensuring timely processing for eligible applicants.

Limitations of F2A Visa

  1. Visa Backlog: The demand for F2A visas may result in waiting times due to visa backlogs, delaying family reunification.
  2. Dependency on Principal Applicant: F2A visa holders’ status is tied to the principal applicant, limiting their options if the primary holder’s status changes.
  3. Limited Family Members Eligible: Only spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for F2A visas; other family members may not qualify.

Keep in mind that immigration policies can change, and it’s always essential to check the latest information from official sources. processing times and potential delays.

Eligibility Criteria for the F2A Family Preference Visa

  1. Relationship Requirements for F2A Visa:

To qualify for the F2A visa, you must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who will sponsor you. This relationship involves being legally married to a U.S. citizen or being the unmarried child (under 21) of a U.S. citizen. Please note that engaged partners or siblings are not eligible under this visa category.

  1. Age and Dependency Requirements:

For children’s eligibility for the F2A family preference visa, they must be unmarried and under 21. Additionally, they need to demonstrate their financial dependence on the U.S. citizen parent. If a child turns 21 or gets married before the visa is processed, they may no longer qualify for the F2A visa, and alternative visa options should be explored.

  1. Financial Support and Sponsorship:

As a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you must demonstrate that you have the financial resources to support your spouse and child while they are in the United States. This includes evidence of your income, employment, or other financial resources. Your commitment to supporting your family members is an essential aspect of the F2A visa application. 

Additionally, they need to demonstrate their financial dependence on the U.S. citizen parent. If a child turns 21 or gets married before the visa is processed, they may no longer qualify for the F2A visa, and alternative visa options should be explored.

Step-by-Step Process for Applying for the F2A Visa

  1. Gathering Required Documentation

To apply for the F2A family preference visa, you must gather several essential documents, including your marriage certificate, birth certificates for your children, passports, and any additional supporting documentation proving the validity of your relationship and financial resources.

  1. Completing the Online Application Form

Once you have collected the necessary documents, complete the online application form, providing personal information about yourself, your spouse, and your child. Take your time to ensure accuracy and completeness to avoid any delays or complications during the application process.

  1. Paying the Visa Fees

As part of the application process, pay the required visa fees. The current fee is on the U.S. Department of State’s website or through your local U.S. embassy or consulate. Follow the payment instructions carefully and keep the receipts as proof.

  1. Scheduling the Visa Interview

After completing the application and paying the fees, schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. During the appointment, provide fingerprints and have a photograph taken. Arrive on time and be well-prepared, as the interview is an opportunity to demonstrate your eligibility and intentions.

  1. Provide Required Documentation for the F2A Visa Application

To establish the validity of your relationship, provide documentation such as a marriage certificate, photographs, and any other evidence demonstrating the authenticity of your marriage or parent-child relationship.

Other Things to Consider

  1. Proof of Financial Resources and Support

Demonstrate your ability to support your spouse and child financially by providing tax returns, employment letters, bank statements, or other evidence of your income and assets.

7. Medical Examination and Immunization Records

Your spouse and child must undergo a medical examination by an approved physician as part of the visa application process. Submit the results and immunization records as part of the application package, ensuring that all required vaccinations are current.

  1. Police Clearance and Background Checks

Background checks and police clearances are typically required to ensure safety and security. Obtain police certificates from countries where your spouse and child have lived and provide all necessary documentation to fulfill the visa application criteria.

Navigating the F2A visa process can be complex, so it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or seek guidance from reliable sources to ensure a smooth application process for bringing your spouse and child to the United States.

See also: I visa: Media and Journalism Visa

Interview Preparation and Tips for the F2A Visa

  1. Understanding the Interview Process:

The F2A Visa interview is a crucial step in bringing your spouse and child to the United States. You will attend the interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. During the interview, a consular officer will assess your relationship’s genuineness and evaluate your eligibility for the F2A Visa. For well-preparation, it’s essential to understand the interview process.

  1. Preparing for Common Interview Questions:

Increase your chances of a successful interview by preparing for common questions the consular may ask. Typical questions include how you met your spouse, details about your relationship and marriage, your plans in the U.S., and your understanding of your responsibilities as an F2A Visa holder. Practice your answers to ensure they are clear, concise, and consistent.

  1. Organizing Supporting Documents for the Interview:

Properly organizing your supporting documents is crucial for a smooth interview process. You must present documents such as your marriage certificate, passport, financial evidence, and other relevant proof of your relationship. Review the specific requirements and gather all necessary documents well in advance, organizing them in a clear and easily accessible manner.

Tips for Demonstrating Strong Ties to Home Country

To obtain an F2A Visa, demonstrate strong ties to your home country to assure the consular officer of no intention to immigrate permanently to the U.S. Strong ties may include:

  • Stable employment, 
  • Property ownership, 
  • Family connections, or 
  • Participation in community activities.

Also, prepare to discuss these ties during your interview and provide supporting evidence.

Navigating the F2A Visa Interview and Approval Process

Here are a few things to note and expect on the day of the interview:

  • Arrive early on the interview day, dressed appropriately and with all necessary documents.
  • Expect security screenings before entering the embassy or consulate.
  • Once inside, you will be called for your interview.
  • Stay calm, answer questions truthfully and confidently, and follow the consular officer’s instructions.

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

  • Maintain a positive attitude, make eye contact, and speak clearly.
  • Listen to the questions before answering, and provide concise and honest responses.
  • Be well-prepared, confident, and respectful to increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Possible Interview Challenges or Delays

In some cases, challenges or delays may arise during the interview process. This could be due to missing or incomplete documentation, additional administrative processing, or other circumstances. If faced with any challenges or delays, cooperate with the consular officer, provide any additional requested information promptly, and remain patient throughout the process.

Receiving the F2A Family Preference Visa Decision

After the interview, you will be notified of the visa decision. If approved, you will receive your passports with the F2A Visa. If denied, don’t lose hope. Take note of the reasons for the denial and consider consulting an immigration attorney to explore your options for reapplying or appealing the decision.

Entry into the United States with the F2A Visa

  1. Understanding the Arrival Process in the U.S. Port of Entry

Upon arriving in the United States, you will go through the U.S. port of entry. Here, an immigration officer will inspect your documents, including your passport and F2A Visa. They may ask you questions about the purpose of your visit, your relationship, and other relevant details. Answer truthfully and provide any requested information while remaining respectful.

  1. Presenting Documents to the Immigration Officer

When presenting your documents at the port of entry, have your passport, F2A Visa, and any supporting documents ready for inspection. This includes your marriage certificate, proof of financial support, and evidence of strong ties to your home country. Be organized and hand over the requested documents promptly.

  1. Maintaining Legal Status in the U.S.

Once in the U.S., it is crucial to maintain your legal status as an F2A Visa holder. This includes adhering to the conditions of your visa, such as not working without the appropriate authorization and ensuring timely extensions if needed. Staying in compliance with U.S. immigration laws is essential for your long-term stay and potential path to permanent residency.

  1. Adjusting Status and Permanent Residency for F2A Visa Holders

If you and your spouse intend to become permanent residents in the United States, you may need to adjust your status. This process involves filing the appropriate forms and supporting documents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Adjusting status allows you to transition from a nonimmigrant visa holder to a permanent resident.

  1. Documents and Forms Required for Adjustment of Status

To apply for adjustment of status, you will need to submit various forms and supporting documents, such as 

  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), 
  • medical examination results, 
  • proof of financial support, and 
  • copies of your passport and 
  • F2A Visa. 

Make sure to carefully review the requirements and gather all necessary documents.

Applying for Permanent Residency as an F2A Visa Holder

Obtaining permanent residency in the United States brings numerous rights and benefits, including the ability to live and work permanently in the U.S., travel freely, access federal benefits and protections, and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. The permanent residency offers stability and opens doors to further opportunities for you and your family in the United States.

Once you file and the USCIS processes your adjustment of status application, they will schedule an interview to further evaluate your eligibility for permanent residency. During this interview, you and your spouse will answer questions about your relationship, background, and supporting documentation. Provide any additional evidence requested to support your case and answer truthfully.

Summary – How to Bring Your Spouse and Child to the US with F2A Visa

The F2A visa is a vital pathway for green card holders to bring their spouses and children to the United States for a reunion. Understanding the eligibility criteria, completing the application process, and preparing for the interview will increase your chances of a successful F2A visa application.

After arriving in the United States, maintaining legal status and exploring options for adjusting status and obtaining permanent residency is crucial. Following these guidelines and using available resources can help you navigate the F2A visa process with confidence. You’ll thereafter build a new chapter of life together with your loved ones in the United States.

Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About Getting the F2A Visa for Your Wife and Child? 

Contact an experienced immigration attorney through us. Schedule a consultation by calling 914-481-8822. Our experienced attorney will answer your questions and provide the legal guidance required.

Posted byCynthia Ude


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