The V Visa

The V visa allows immediate family members of lawful permanent residents to enter the U.S. with a legal status and work authorization while they wait for their immigration case to be reviewed. The requirements for this type of visa is: (1) the sponsoring permanent resident must have filed an immigration petition (I-130) for the spouse or child on or before December 21, 2000; and (2) the petition must either have been pending with USCIS for three years or more, or if the petition has been approved, the spouse or minor child must have been waiting at least 3 years for the immigration quota.

This visa benefits spouses and minor children who are currently outside the Unites States and those who satisfy the 3-year requirement and are living in the U.S. Those who have been out of status in the United States may obtain V status. Additionally, a V visa applicant who would otherwise be subject to the 3-year or 10-year bar for previous violations of immigration law can obtain a V visa to come to the U.S. Once the V visa holder has a relative petition approved on his or her behalf and a current priority date, he or she can adjust status under 245(a) or, 245(i) if qualified. To be eligible, an individual's immigration petition must have been pending for 3 years and filed before December 21, 2000.

The recent Schumer-Rubio immigration bill proposes to change the V-visa rules to allow more than 1.4 million family visa applicants to bypass the current waiting list and be admitted immediately and begin working, even before they are approved for a green card. If passed, the bill would remove the old V visa criteria and replaces them to benefit an entirely new group. First, the original V visa beneficiaries, who numbered about 220,000 at last count, will be admitted immediately off the waiting list, without numerical limitations. The new V-1 visas will be offered to three categories of family visa applicants. The beneficiaries are: unmarried sons and daughters of citizens; unmarried sons and daughters of LPRs; married sons and daughters of citizens, under 31. The new V-2 visas will be offered to two categories: married sons and daughters of citizens, over 31 and siblings of U.S. citizens. These changes would go into effect on October 1st, if the bill is enacted.