How Do I Become a V-Nonimmigrant as the
Spouse or Child of a U.S.
Permanent Resident? (V-1, V-2 and V-3 Visa Classifications)
The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and its amendments (LIFE
Act) established a new nonimmigrant category (V) within the immigration law
that allows the spouse or child of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident to live and
work in the United States
in a nonimmigrant category. The spouse or child can remain in the United States while they wait until they are
able to apply for lawful permanent residence status (Adjusting Status), or for
an immigrant visa, instead of having to wait outside the United States
as the law previously required.
Where Can I Find the Law?
The Immigration and Nationality Act is a law that governs
immigration to the United
States. For the part of the law concerning V
nonimmigrant status and the process of applying for permanent residence status,
please see INA §§ 101(a)(15) and 214(o) (V
nonimmigrant status); § 248 (change of status); and § 245 (immigration petition
and adjustment of status). The specific eligibility requirements and procedures
for qualifying as a V nonimmigrant, obtaining that status and applying for
permanent residence are included in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8
CFR § 214.15, 248, and 245.
Who is Eligible?
A person may apply at a U.S. consulate
abroad for a V-1 or V-2 visa or seek V-1 or V-2 nonimmigrant status while in
the United States, if:
person is lawfully married to a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States
(V-1), or is the unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a Lawful Permanent
person is the principal beneficiary of a relative petition (Form I-130) that
was filed by the Lawful Permanent Resident spouse/parent on or before December
person has been waiting at least 3 years since the petition was filed for
status as a Lawful Permanent Resident because the petition is still pending, or
has been approved
An immigrant visa is not yet
There is a
pending application to adjust status or application for an immigrant visa.
The derivative child of a V-1 or V-2
nonimmigrant is eligible for a V-3 visa or for V-3 status.
How Do I Apply?
If outside of the United
States, you should contact the U.S. State
Department consular office or embassy to apply for a visa.
If inside the United States,
you must file the Form I-539, Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status, and
Supplement A, and pay the application fee, or request a waiver of the
application fee. All aliens 14 to 79 years of age who are filing Form I-539 to
obtain V nonimmigrant status must submit a service fee for fingerprinting with
their application. In addition to the instructions listed on the Form I-539,
all aliens applying for V nonimmigrant status must follow the supplemental
instructions found on Supplement A to Form I-539. Applicants must also undergo
a medical examination and submit Form I-693, Medical Examination of Aliens
Seeking Adjustment of Status, without the vaccination supplement.
Applications should be
Citizenship and Immigration Services
P.O. Box 7216
Chicago, IL 60680-7216
Will I Get a Work Permit?
Persons in V-1, V-2, or V-3 status are eligible to apply for a work permit.
You should use USCIS Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) to
apply for a work permit. Applicants should use the code “(a)(15)”
as the answer to question 16 on Form I-765.
Submit the application by
mailing a Form I-765 along with the application fee to:
Citizenship and Services
P.O. Box 7216
Chicago, IL 60680-7216
Can I Travel Outside the United States?
If you obtain a V nonimmigrant visa from a consular office abroad, you may
be inspected and admitted to the United States in V nonimmigrant
status after traveling abroad as long as you continue to possess a valid,
unexpired V visa and remain eligible for V nonimmigrant status.
When you are granted V
nonimmigrant status in the United States
by the USCIS, you will need to obtain a V visa from a consular office abroad in
order to be inspected and admitted to the United States as a V nonimmigrant
after traveling abroad. (You will not need to apply for a V visa abroad in
order to be admitted if you have traveled to contiguous territories or adjacent
islands, have another (different category) valid visa, and are eligible for
automatic revalidation.) Procedures for obtaining a V nonimmigrant visa abroad
are found in the Department of State regulations at 22 CFR 41.86 (66 FR 19390,
April 16, 2001). In addition, you must remain eligible for admission in V
A V nonimmigrant with a
pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust
Status, does not need to obtain advance parole prior to traveling abroad. This
means that an alien in V nonimmigrant status may be readmitted as a
nonimmigrant despite the fact that he or she is an intending immigrant with a
filed application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa. The departure
of a V nonimmigrants with a, pending applications for
adjustment of status is not considered to have abandoned the adjustment
application upon departure.
If you have accrued more than
180 days of unlawful presence in the United States (or 365 days), then
travel abroad and are admitted or readmitted as a V nonimmigrant, you have
triggered a 3- or 10-year bar to admission. The law exempts V nonimmigrants from the 3- (or 10-)
year bar for purposes of admission to the United States as a V nonimmigrant
but does not exempt them from the bar when they later apply for an immigrant
visa or for adjustment to LPR status. That means that although you will be
admitted or readmitted to the United
States in V status, you may be unable to
adjust status to LPR unless an individual waiver for that ground of
inadmissibility is granted. To the extent that you may be eligible, you may
apply for the waivers found at section 212(g), (h), (i),
and (a)(9)(B)(v) of the Act.
How Can I Check the Status of
Please contact the USCIS office that received your application.
You should be prepared to provide the USCIS staff with specific information
about your application. Please click here for complete instructions on checking
the status of your application. Please click here for more information on USCIS
How Can I Appeal?
There is no appeal from a decision on Form I-539 denying V status.