Monday, July 1, 2013

FB Category - Frequently Asked Questions (Updated)

Since we have received a lot of questions in forum and blog comments about F2A category, we have decided to write a blog post for FB categories. It would also be helpful to EB categories.

This article has special emphasis on F2A category which is expected to be current in coming months and is expected to remain "Current" till the October 2013 Visa Bulletin.

Q. What does "Current" mean?
A. If Visa Bulletin has a "C" besides any category/country, it means that category/country is current. Current means that visa bulletin cutoff date for F2A category is Aug 2013 (instead of Oct 2011). Please see two options below:

(1) If you live within US: You can file I-485 application even if I-130 application is pending.

(2) If you live outside US: You should not file I-485. You will have to wait for I-130 to be approved. Once it is approved and PD is current, you do not have to do anything else. NVC will schedule your interview.

For NVC/Consular processing, please click here: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/09/nvc-consular-processing-steps.html

Q. Why is F2A category becoming Current?
A. There has been a large amount of visas wasted in this category in FY2009, FY 2010 and FY 2012. To prevent this waste, DOS would most likely make this category as "current" in either August or September VB. This will help them build a "pipeline" of cases after applicants file I-485 applications. In FY 2012, over 18,000 visas were wasted in FB category.

Here are more details on how many visas were wasted in F2A category:

Annual approx visas allotted to F2A category by law: 87,934. However actual visas allotted in the last 5 fiscal years was much below 87,934 quota. More details below by fiscal year:

FY 2012: 77,300 (visa wasted: 10,000+ )
FY 2011: 81,728 (visa wasted: 6,000+ )
FY 2010: 60,652  (visa wasted: 27,000+ )
FY 2009: 75,075 (visa wasted:  12,000+)
 
Source: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/statistics/statistics_1476.html. Select year and then click on heading for V section.

Q. How long would F2A category remain current?
A. It is likely to remain current till Oct or Nov VB. Once enough demand has been generated, it is likely to retrogress and then continue to move forward slowly. How far it retrogress depends on how many applications are filed in the next few months.

Q. Why are some other FB categories moving slowly?
A. Visa allocation is based on supply and demand. The supply is fixed by law for each FB categories. The demand however can change every month. If the demand is higher in some months, the dates would move slowly (since supply is fixed, though demand is higher). In F2A category, the current demand is low, hence dates are moving faster.

Q. What is difference between I-485 and consular processing?
A. If you are inside US, you can either file I-485 application or go for consular processing. If you are outside US, you can only go for consular processing.

Note: You can either file I-485 or do consular processing. You cannot typically do both.

Q. Can applicant outside US go for consular processing interview when I-130 is pending?
A. For FB category, currently you have to wait for I-130 to be approved before you can go for consular processing interview. Please see next question.

Q. What are the complete steps for NVC/consular processing?
A. Please see this: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/09/nvc-consular-processing-steps.html

Also please see this article from USCIS: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=62280a5659083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=62280a5659083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

Note: I-130 Processing Data - USCIS Field Office (published on 06/28/13): http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Resources/Reports%20and%20Studies/Immigration%20Forms%20Data/Family-Based/I130_performancedata_fy2013_qtr1.pdf

Q. Can I-485 be filed if I-130 is still pending?
A. Yes, USCIS allows concurrent filing of I-130 and I-485 application. This means that you can file I-130 and I-485 at the same time ONLY if F2A category is current. Since F2A category is generally retrogressed, applicant first file I-130 to establish PD. Once the PD is current they file I-485 application. You can file I-485 application when your PD is current; even if I-130 is still pending. Do not file I-485 application if PD is not current. See: USCIS article on concurrent filing.

Note: Derivatives of US Citizen can concurrently file I-130 and I-485 anytime.

Q. Can applicant file EAD/AP card with I-485?
A. Yes you can file for EAD and AP card with I-485 application. EAD allows you to work for any employer and AP allows you to travel and reenter US while I-485 is pending.

Q. Can applicant travel outside US while I-485 is pending?
A. The safest way to travel outside US while I-485 pending is using Advanced Parole. Other option is to have following visas: H1, H4, L1 and L2. Applicants with these visas can renter US using these visas rather than use AP card. Not all persons who file the I-485 should  travel abroad with Advance Parole even if it has been issued. One who has been unlawfully present for 180 days or more prior to filing the I-485 should not travel outside the U.S. while the I-485 is pending or they will be subject to the 3-year or 10-year bar following departure. Always talk to your lawyer before traveling outside US.

Q. How would applicant switch between I-485 and consular processing?
A. The choice to pursue consular processing is generally made at the I-130 stage and progresses through the National Visa Center (NVC) once the I-130 petition is approved. One who initially requests an I-485 process, but later wants to pursue consular processing, must file an I-824 to notify the NVC of this choice. One who initially requests consular processing, but later wants to pursue the I-485, may do so from within the U.S., but there could be a delay in obtaining the I-485 approval if the file has to be transferred from the consulate/NVC to the USCIS Service Center

Q. What happens to I-485 application if Visa Bulletin dates retrogressed?
A. USCIS first priority is to process application which are current. If they have time, they will continue to process application which are not current. USCIS will not reject application just because Visa Bulletin dates have retrogressed. USCIS will typically still issue EAD/AP card (if you have submitted those forms).

Q. What are the steps to file I-485 application? What happens after filing I-485 application?
A. Please see this article:  http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/04/how-to-file-i-485-application.html

Q. Where can applicants see status of their application?
A. Direct Link: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard.do. You can also sign up for email/sms notification.
 
Q. When would I-130 and/or I-485 application be approved by USCIS?
A. Each USCIS service center may have a different processing time to process I-130 and I-485 application. Please see the processing time here:
https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do

Q. What is the difference between Visa Bulletin date and USCIS service center date? 
 A. Visa Bulletin date tells you when you can file for I-485 application (PD has to be before the date listed in monthly visa bulletin) or when NVC will call for interview. The service center date (in link above) tells you how long it could take USCIS to process the I-485 application.

Applicant can check USCIS processing time to get an estimate on how long it takes USCIS to process I-130 (and I-485) application.

Visa bulletin is updated monthly. USCIS processing time are updated whenever there is a change in the processing time.

Related article from DHS: http://www.dhs.gov/roundtable-6-demystifying-visa-queues-interagency-discussion-priority-dates

If you have not done it yet, please add your case to the GC tracker. Every case would be helpful. http://www.mygcvisa.com/tracker/

Recommended Reading:

Please click here for latest immigration news or see the right side menu for the latest analysis, news stories and other useful FAQ or USCIS links --> 

81 comments:

  1. hi amazon, my question is about ead/ap? so meaning anyone filed for i 485 can have it also? how long to process it? meaning i can go US while my case is still pending?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. According to USCIS, you have to reside in US to be able to file I-485 application. I-485 is adjustment of status. You are adjusting status from non-immigrant to immigrant.

      Delete
  2. Hi Amazon, do you have FB account?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure. You can follow at: http://www.facebook.com/MyGCVisa

      Delete
  3. Hi,

    Thanks for your blog about FB/F2A Category and i am little confused when you mentioned when the dates are current one needs to file I-485.

    In my case my wife is outside USA and i have already filed I-130 and my understanding is once the dates becomes current the application will go to NVC and they will schedule an interview at the US Embassy in the country where she is currently residing. And i don't need to file any other forms.

    Please correct me if i am wrong.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is correct. I-485 can only be filed if applicant physically resides in US.

      If they are outside US, they would have to go for consular processing.

      There is a link from USCIS in blog post above for the question "What are the complete steps for consular processing?" It will answer all your questions.

      Delete
    2. Hi,

      Thanks for valuable info.

      Is there a way we can predict how long it is going to take for scheduling an interview at the consulate once I-130 priority date is current.

      Is there a way we can calculate this based on the FB Numerical Data provided. (if at all this is feasible) or it's upto NVC when they schedule an interview.

      Thanks

      Delete
    3. It probably depends on the load at the service center. Different regions may have different dates. You can always check by calling them up and asking for updates.

      Delete
  4. hi amazon I have to go through consular processing my I130 was accepted what do I expect next an NOA2 and then what

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In blog post above, please see question "What are the complete steps for consular processing?" It will answer all your questions.

      Delete
  5. A very informative article. Great job Amazon.

    I

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,
    I do have a question regarding F2A. I'm staying in US on H1b and my I-130 was filed by my wife a month ago and is pending approval. In August, I'm planning to file I-485, EAD and AP together since dates are becoming current.
    1) Will all these (I-130, I-485, EAD, AP) get approved together or everything has to wait till the California office approves my I-130 petition ?
    2) What are the approximate timelines if USCIS receives my entire packet in the 1st week of August ?

    Thanks in advance,
    Gagan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. They can process them in parallel.

      2. Each service center have different processing time. Please see the blog post above for link to processing time.

      Delete
  7. Hi im michelle from the philippines and i would like to know how's my case is going through. My husband is a green card holder and filed I-130 and later he received a letter stating that my PD is Aug 1, 2012 (NOA1). Last June 27, 2013 when i received an email from the USCIS that they have mailed a notice of approval (NOA2) and havent received anything until today. Later today, i notice that the visa bulletin in f2a category is "CURRENT" and i would like to know what should i do. Hows that? Thank you in advance. Have a good day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can call USCIS/NVC and ask them to send a duplicate letter (I-130 approval notice). If you are going for consular processing, please see the question in blog post above "What are the complete steps for consular processing?"

      Delete
    2. Tnx amazon. If i call nvc/uscis and soon will have my approval notice will i still be qualified for the current f2a visa bulletin even if havent received choice of agent or the first letter from them? Yes i will go for consular processing since i am here in philippines.

      Delete
    3. If I-130 is approved, NVC will contact you for interview. You do not need to pay agent for this.

      Delete
  8. Hi., Thanks for the information. It was really helpful. Where do AOS applicants file the documents. Specification for the chicago lock box mentions only APPROVED I-130 petitions.

    This information would be really helpful for a lot of people in similar situations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chicago Lockbox.

      http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextchannel=fe529c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextoid=eb7b5cdc2c463110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD

      Where applicable, you must include a copy of the Form I-797C Notice of Approval, showing that your Form I-130 was accepted or approved.

      Delete
  9. Hi I find your blog very helpful.I'm also confused of what to do that august 2013 PD will be current.I'm LPR living in Hawaii.I filed 1-130 for my husband who is living in Philippines last march 2013.My PD is March 2013.Next month PD will be current is it a good news? should I do something? will the processing time will be affected? thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have updated the blog post so that it is more clear.

      You will have to wait for I-130 to be approved. Once it is approved, NVC will schedule an interview.

      Feel free to post more questions.

      Delete


  10. Hi! My husband is a green card holder and he petitioned us and approved on May 25, 2012 under F2A ....i came accross/verified the status at the Visa Bulletin for this month of August 2013 and found out that F2A is already current.
    I would like to know if it is possible to contact the NVC to ask and follow-up about the next step that were going to do and to know whether we are retrogress or we are luckily included before the cut-off date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you can call NVC and ask them status of I-130.

      Once I-130 is approved, NVC will set up interview.

      Delete
    2. Hi .....thanks for the responsed dated July 12, 2013...I still have a question and please enlighten me on NOA2 coz my husband told me that the NVC send him a notice that our I-130 had been approved. Does the 1-130 and NOA1 are the same...does the approval of I-130 assured us that we are already included before the cut-off date? thanks much.

      Delete
    3. NOA1 = I-130 application receipt notice
      NOA2 = I-130 approval notice

      Your PD has to be before visa bulletin cutoff date.

      Delete
  11. Hi amazon! Thank you so much for explaining everything so clearly. I am married to a green card holder and I am currently in the US until October under the visitor visa. We have not filed anything yet. I see that my f2a category becomes current in August 2013. Do I wait til August 1 to file the I-130 and I-485 together or should we file I-130 now (July)? Also, can I also file for ead together with I-130 and I-485 in August? Or we should do all these now? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should contact a lawyer. Visitor visa means you have non immigrant intent. If you file I-485 application that means you now have immigration intent. This can be very tricky and can be considered fraud.

      Safest thing to do is file I-130 application. If you are planning to return back to home country, you can go for consular processing. Other option is to reenter US with dual intent visa. Once you reenter US with dual intent visa, you can file I-485 (as long as PD is current).

      A good lawyer will be able to help with this.

      Delete
    2. Also see this about 30/60/90 day rule:

      http://immigrationworkvisa.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/green-card-adjustment-san-diego-after-b2-entry/

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much Amazon! As you suggested, we did retain the services of a veteran immigration lawyer who will help us with the process. He does insist that we file everything concurrently. I do hope that the uscis don't suspect me of fraud or wrong intent. Our original plan was to wait for a year until he becomes a citizen but since this "current" status presented itself now, it would be a waste to pass off the opportunity to be together forever now! Again many many thanks!!

      Delete
    4. Awesome. You can also consult second lawyer just to get their opinion (it may be free consultation). Then you can compare their suggestion and see if they differ.

      Delete
  12. Hi Amazon
    I filed for my wife on june 10th 2013. i got confirmation letter from uscis regarding payment of 420$.My priority date is June 12th 2013. I live in maryland. How much time you think that it will take to get NOA2 from USCIS. In the meantime can my wife appy for tourist visa in december since it her birthday Christmas and new year and we want to spend it together as it will be our first holidays together.
    what are her chance for getting tourist visa. Thank you so much i will really appreciate your help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Each service center have different time it takes to process I-130 application. Please see the blog post above for link to check processing time.

      Yes, you can apply for visitors visa. Make sure she mentions mentions I-130 petition at the time of filing for visitors visa (this is important). Another option is for you to visit her home country.

      Delete
    2. Thank you very Much amazon. Her service center is Vermont.What do you reckon NOA2 can come by the end of this year.My second question is how much sure you are for this immigration reform to be passed by house of representative and by the end of this year we will be able to know that if this bill will be a law or not?
      Thank you again for your help. I really appreciate it.

      Josh

      Delete
    3. 1. You can check the current processing time in the link above (in blog post). Processing time changes every 1-2 months.

      2. Please see this:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/us/politics/gop-in-house-resists-overhaul-for-immigration.html?hp&_r=1

      Delete
    4. ok thank u so much amazon for answering every question i asked it will be a great help for me and others...

      Delete
  13. amazon can u please answered me i just want to ask my husband filed me on june 7 2013 and ,am i current also even if he filed me last june 7,priority date is june please answered me it will be a big elp and also im preghnbant right now what process were going to do my husband is an lpr,..thank u so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you received NOA1 and NOA2?

      Delete
    2. hello i only recieved noa1

      Delete
    3. If you live outside US, you will have to wait for I-130 to be approved (NOA2). One it is approved, NVC will set up an interview.

      You can read steps for consular processing here:

      http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=62280a5659083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=62280a5659083210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

      Delete
    4. am i current

      Delete
    5. ahh ok so it means i have to wait for noa2,

      Delete
    6. im here in the phillipines and my husband is there in the us

      Delete
    7. Your PD is current. However, since you are outside US, you will have to wait for I-130 to be approved before NVC will set up interview.

      Delete
    8. thank u so much amazon,can i ask last question so if i dont recieve noa2 my husband cant file i485 so maybe i have to w8 for noa2 usually how many months before noa2 recieve..

      Delete
    9. Since you are outside US, do not file I-485 application. You have to go for consular processing.

      I-130 processing time can be different in various service center. You can see link in blog post above for current processing time.

      Delete
  14. Hi Amazon,

    My wife is LPR (Green card) and our acceptance date of I-130 is nov 30, 2012. My F1 (student) visa expired but I have OPT EAD which is valid until dec 2013. When my wife called USCIS, they said that we have to wait until I-130 is approved before we can apply for I-485 and I-765. Is it true or can we go ahead and apply for I-485? Would it cause any issue?

    Please advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have applied for H1B and it is still in initial review

      Delete
    2. Yes you can file I-485 application. Many USCIS call center operators are not familiar with various laws.

      Delete
  15. Hi amazon, how soon does the NVC sends out fee bill after they received my case from uscis? Im on f2a and had received noa2 last june 26.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should call NVC and request them for status update.

      Delete
  16. Hello amazon. I am a f1 student. My wife filed my I130 on october and we received notice of action with the priority date october 16 2012. can I file I 485 this august since the pd are current? My I130 is still pending.
    And if I can file, what will be my application type?
    a. Immigrant petition giving me an immidiately available visa number that has been approved.
    or any other? please help!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please see this link: http://www.mygcvisa.com/forum/default.aspx?g=topics&f=5

      Delete
  17. what is the next step after receiving the alien number,pd and i think form I785

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please see this link:

      http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=ae853ad15c673210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=ae853ad15c673210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

      Delete
  18. Hi amazon, my husband in US had received notice of approval(NOA2) last june 26, 2013 in mail and what would i do now? Can i call the nvc as beneficiary or is it necessary thay my husband as my petitioner should do the call? I thought i can receive ds3032 as of this time now is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can call NVC also. You may need to have receipt number and other details with you before calling.

      Delete
  19. Hi!i just recently receive approval letter(NOA2) last june 27,2013 and my husband priority date of petition is June 28,2012..and this august the PD is current what does this means?is it a good news for us???


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are located inside US, you can file I-485.

      If you are outside US, NVC will set up interview.

      Delete
  20. Hi, I am here on a F1 visa as a student and I am marrying my fiance this july. Does the date of marriage affects anything? Will I have to file both I-130 and I-485 parallely? Would appreciate your help.
    Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Date of marriage should not matter. However you should be legally married before filing I-130 application.

      You can file I-130 and I-485 at same time or little later. You can first file I-130 and as long as PD is current, you can file I-485.

      Delete
  21. I am a PR and applied I-130 for my Husband on PD 8 June 2012
    I see the Visa Bulletin is current and when will I get a notice of Approval.
    Some enquiries show PD after this date has the system missed my application?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Different service center have different processing time.

      In blog post above, there is a link to check current processing time.

      Delete
  22. It looks like no one is always availablt to take inquiries at nvc.. Can i still email them? How and email add please.. Thank you.. Im about to inquire status update after noa2 last 3 weeks and f2a is current this august, am i qualified? My pd is aug 1, 2012.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can find USCIS contact information in link below:

      http://www.mygcvisa.com/USCIS/USCIS-Contact.aspx

      Delete
  23. Hi Amazon,
    can u please edify me time taken for NOA2 to come from vermont service center.My priority date is june 12th 2013.Thank you.do you think with your experience it it will be coming by the end of this year.My category is F2A sponsering my spouse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every month USCIS updates it processing time. Please see the link in blog post above (to check latest processing time).

      Delete
  24. Hi amazon.... if going home now and married my boyfriend and go back after the wedding to file a petition..is there a possibility that the cut off date is still current if I file the F2a category...Thankyou

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. F2A category is expected to be current in Sept and Oct 2013 VB. It could retrogress if USCIS receives a lot of applications.

      Delete
  25. Hi so I am here at university on f1 visa , I am 20 , turn 21 in January 2014. My mom just became LPR last month. Does this mean I can apply concurrently aug1. Even though I am turning 21 in January?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please see this:

      http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/06/child-status-protection-act-cspa.html

      Delete
  26. hi, i filed i 130 already and outside US now. can i B2 travel to US to submit I 485 in August?

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hello,

    I happen to find this page and see it very helpful. I am petitioning for my son who will turn 21 in the next 2 months. Right now, I got a letter of petition approval for my I-130 form. My question is will my son still be eligible as child under 21 if he was interviewed after he turns 21? I am now still green card resident. Is there any way to "lock the age" like I heard from others? Your advice is very much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please see this: http://blog.mygcvisa.com/2013/06/child-status-protection-act-cspa.html

      Delete
  28. Hi amazon, how long do i have to wait for ds 3032. Im on f2a category in philippines and my husband already paid the aos and iv fee. My husband is a green card holder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should call NVC. They will be able to help.

      Delete
  29. Hi Amazon

    I was checking the processing times for I-485 and for VSC, it says Apr 16 2012. What does it mean?

    Thanks
    Hari

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It means USCIS is currently processing cases with PD till April 16, 2012.

      Delete
  30. Blog post comments are currently closed. Please post all new questions in immigration forum: http://www.mygcvisa.com/forum

    ReplyDelete

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