V Nonimmigrant Visas
The V visa is a nonimmigrant visa created to allow families to stay together while waiting for the processing of immigrant visas.
What does the V nonimmigrant visa offer me?
The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act (LIFE Act) and its amendments established a new nonimmigrant V category within the immigration law that allows the dependent spouse or children of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident to live and work in the U.S. The dependents may remain in the U.S. 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 U.S. as the law previously required.
What are the USCIS requirements for V visa eligibility?
If you are a permanent resident (green card holder), your spouse, child (unmarried and under 21), or the child of your spouse (your step-child) may be eligible for a V visa if:
- You filed Petition for Alien Relative, for your family member on or before December 21, 2000. This includes children (unmarried and under 21) listed on the petition.
- The family member has been waiting at least 3 years since you filed the Petition for Alien Relative.
- The immigrant visa is not available on an approved petition, or the application to adjust status is pending, or the petition for an immigrant visa is pending.
How do I apply for a V visa from USCIS?
If your family member is inside the United States, you file:
- Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Supplement A, and
- Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status.
If your family member is outside the United States:
- He or she must go through consular processing. For more information on consular processing overseas, please read more here. [LINK TO CONSULAR PROCESSING]
U.S. Embassies and Consulates have not issued any V visas for the past several years because applicants with priority dates on or before December 21, 2000, were able to apply for immigrant visas as their priority dates became current. Review the Visa Bulletin for information on the priority dates of petitions for spouses and children of U.S. lawful permanent residents that are currently being processed for immigrant visas.
What is the processing time of V-1 visa?
The processing time for V-1 visa is anything between three and six months from the date the application is made.
How long can I stay in the U.S. on V-1 visa?
You may stay in the U.S. on V-1 visa for an initial period of two years. You may apply for further extension of stay of two years if a visa number is not yet available. The total number of years you may stay on V-1 visa is 10 years.
When will my V status get terminated?
According to the provisions of the LIFE Act, your V status will automatically terminate within 30 days following the denial of the underlying Petition for Lawful Permanent Residence, Application for Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status.
Can I work on V-1 visa?
Yes, you may work on V-1 visa after obtaining a valid Employment Authorization Document. You must use Application for Employment Authorization, to apply for a work permit.
- Change to any other nonimmigrant status
- Enter into the U.S. if you have been temporarily barred for previous violation of the U.S. immigration laws
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.
Do I need to obtain advance parole from USCIS?
A V nonimmigrant with a pending 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.
Can I adjust status while on V-1 visa?
Yes, you may apply for adjustment of status to permanent residence while on V-1 visa if you meet the requirements. For information on adjustment of status, please read more here. [LINK TO AOS]
How do I apply for change of status to V-1 while in the U.S.?
To apply for V-1 status in the U.S., you must:
- Show that you have been waiting since the last three years at least for the USCIS to act on your petition (the petition must have been filed before December 21, 2000)
- Demonstrate you have not received a visa number in case the USCIS has approved your petition, or that your Adjustment of Status or immigrant visa is still pending
- Submit completed Form 1-539 Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Supplement A
- Undergo a medical examination and submit Form i-693 Medical Examination of Aliens seeking Adjustment of Status, without the Vaccination Supplement
- Pay the application fee, or request a waiver of the application fee
- Submit local documents establishing family relations (in some cases, testimonials to establish the truth of these relationships)
- Submit evidence to establish that your health and criminal backgrounds meet standards sufficient to protect the American public.
Can I appeal the denial of V-1 visa?
There is no appeal from a decision on an Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status denying V status. If the immigration petition or adjustment of status is ultimately denied, the V visa holder loses his V status and must either leave the U.S. or change to another nonimmigrant status within 30 days of the denial. Only those whose immigration petition has been pending for 3 years and who filed their before December 21, 2000 may benefit from the V visa. So V visas are a temporary visa and can do nothing to reserve the benefit if you missed the December 21, 2000 deadline.