More On the “V” Visa
March 16, 2001
As previously discussed in this column, a new visa class – the “V” visa, was created as part of the extensive immigration legislation enacted back on December 21, 2000. And according to a recent State Department memo, eligible applicants can expect to be contacted by letter in the coming month or so giving more details on the process and the State Department’s plan to have V visa processing commence at U.S. embassies and consulates around the globe as early as April. Also, it is important to note that V visa status will also be attainable for qualifying applicants already in the U.S., regardless of their immigration status, by way of a filing with the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service – although, to date, a procedure has yet to be set in place.
Again, what is the V visa?
The V Visa will be available to the spouses and under 21 year old children of lawful permanent residents if:
- an I-130 Alien Relative Petition was filed on their behalf prior to December 21, 2000
- the beneficiary spouse and/or child have been waiting more than 3 years since the time of the filing for visa availability.
For those outside the U.S., the process will be instituted at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to the applicant’s place of residence – and with the V visa the individual will be able to travel to, live and work in the U.S. while waiting for immigrant visa availability. Ultimately, these individuals will finish their permanent residence processing in the U.S. once an immigrant visa does become available.
And again, for qualifying family already in the U.S. and regardless of immigration status, V visa status will be available by way of an application with the U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service, and without the need to depart the U.S.
Like those arriving from overseas, V visa status will allow those in the U.S. to convert to legal status without departing the U.S., with such status granting them the right to live and work in the U.S. while awaiting immigrant visa availability and final immigrant processing. Again, like those arriving from overseas, those converting to V status in the U.S. will also be eligible to complete their final immigrant processing without departing and having to appear at a U.S. post overseas.
Most of those qualifying will be receiving a letter from the National Visa Center advising them of their V visa eligibility, although the fact that a letter is not received by a potential applicant does not mean they are ineligible. That is, due to changes of address and/or administrative oversight, a potentially eligible applicant may not receive their letter. In cases like these, it is advisable that the applicant take the initiative to contact the U.S embassy or consulate on their own.
BUT, NO ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN JUST YET SINCE THE PLAN NOTED ABOVE IS JUST THAT, A PLAN. When it comes to the implementation of a large scale U.S. government program, there are many glitches that can get in the way. So for the time being, most U.S. embassies and consulates are just getting word of this plan and will be barely equipped to commence processing. So, as developments in overseas post implementation of this plan take place, I will present all the facts in this column. The same is true for implementation of the program by the Immigration & Naturalization Service for those in the U.S. It does seem, however, that in the coming 60 days or so, significant developments should be taking place.
A couple of other points on the V Visa.
Unfortunately, it appears that those I-130 2nd Pref. beneficiaries who will have already turned 21 years of age will not be eligible for the V visa, despite the fact that they may have been under 21 at the time the I-130 petition was filed or approved.
Additionally, it is also important to remember that only those who have been the beneficiary of a Family 2nd preference A I-130 petition filed prior to December 21, 2000 will be eligible, and it is only after the filing has been pending for more than 3 years that a V visa is an option.
Lastly, if it appears that an immigrant visa will very soon become available because the visa cut off/priority date is close to being reached or because of the U.S. petitioner has become a U.S. citizen, it may be advisable to just wait to proceed on the basis of immigrant visa/permanent residence processing. Such a choice will obviously depend on the specific circumstances of the case.
For more information on the V visa, log onto the State Department website: HTTP://TRAVEL.STATE.GOV/V-VISA.HTML. Or for the potential V status applicant already in the U.S., information from the INS should soon be available at www.ins.gov.
PUBLISHED March 16, 2001 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM”
Copyright © 2001-2008, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois