The immigration process takes a long time, there is no way around that. There are however a few shortcuts available if you know where to look. The LIFE Act included one such time-saver, the V visa, and it is available for spouses and children of a green card holder. If the family of the green card holder qualify under certain criteria, then they will be able to enter the US and also apply for work authorization.
Who is Eligible for a V visa?
Certain restrictions apply however. The spouse or children must meet the following two requirements:
- The green card holder filed an immigrant petition for the spouse or child on or before December 21, 2000; and
- The petition is pending for 3 or more years, or the petition has been approved but 3 or more years have passed and a visa number is still not immediately available, or a visa number is available but the immigrant visa/adjustment of status is still pending.
The V visa can be used by aliens both outside the US and within the US as well. If an alien is in the US, he may change his visa to a V visa. Likewise, if an alien is outside the US, even if there is a 3 or 10 year bar, the alien can apply for a V visa and then adjust status. The barred alien will however have to apply for a waiver when adjusting status.
Pitfalls and other Consequences
Children qualifying for V-2 (children of the LPR) or V-3 (dependent children of the spouse) status are still susceptible to “Aging Out.” More specifically, if a child turns 21 years old during the three year waiting period, the child will not be eligible for the V visa. If the child is already present here on the V visa, he will be deemed to be in unlawful status. The child will be subject to removal and start to accrue unlawful presence. There is a way to extend the child’s V-2 or V-3 status beyond his 20th birthday however.
Termination of V status
Some of the general immigration “game changers” still apply to V visas. For example, the V visa will automatically terminate 30 days following:
- The marriage of a V-2 or V-3;
- The V-1 spouse divorces from the LPR and there is a final decree; and
- The I-130, immigrant visa, or adjustment of status application is denied, withdrawn or revoked.
Some other notable termination rules also include the naturalization of the petitioning LPR. In that case, only the immediate relatives of the LPR (spouses and children) will have their V visas terminated.