Get ready for an eye-opening journey into the realm of family-based immigration. The following sections address a common misconception confusing US visa processing.
Many US visa applicants mistakenly think altering their US status won't affect their US immigrant visa categories. However, it's important to note that a change in US citizenship status automatically leads to a shift in US visa categories according to operation law.
The information in this blog could enhance your US immigration strategy, so don't miss out. Let's dive in!
The Difference: US Visa Categories Vs. US Status
US visa categories refer to the specific classification under which a person can apply for a visa. For example, F-1, F-2A, and F-2B are different categories within the family-based US immigration system. A shift in US visa categories implies a change in the specific classification of your eligible visa.
Your US type of visa status signifies a change in your legal position within the US. For example, you can have US status as a permanent resident (green card holder) or US citizen. This could be due to factors like naturalization or age-related transitions in family-based immigration cases.
The Impact of Operation Law on US Visa Categories
It's important to understand how operation law affects your visa application when going from having a green card to obtaining US citizenship. This legal principle dictates automatic shifts in US visa categories, regardless of formal notification.
Here's an example:
If a green card holder sponsors their family members, they begin in the F-2A category. But once the beneficiaries reach 21 years, they switch to the F-2B category. Upon naturalization, the case typically moves to F-1 status.
This vital point emphasizes the need for thorough planning before starting this major immigration process. It shows that operation law doesn't allow for mistakes. Failing to notify authorities doesn't alter the change in US visa categories.
Your US immigration status changes automatically by law. Even if you don't formally tell the authorities about your citizenship change. This fundamental understanding is crucial in making informed decisions during the immigration journey.
Immigration Lawyer Insights: Real-Life Client Cases
We've collected real stories and expert guidance from Joshua Goldstein to help you understand how changes in your US status and operation law can impact your visa options.
Client Case: Permanent Resident Petitioned for Her Children
In this first scenario, a permanent resident petitioned for her children (categorized as an F-2A case). The twist comes when the children turn 21. When a child turns 21, they automatically transition (as per operation law) to the F-2B category.
Adding another layer of complexity, the petitioner’s US status underwent naturalization and she became a US citizen. She never officially notified the embassy, consulate, or relevant department about her new US citizenship status.
Immigration Lawyer Insights
Our client thought that she could keep her F2A status if she didn't tell the Department of State or consulate about her US citizenship. However, this assumption proves incorrect. As per the law, when you turn 21, you automatically move from F-2A to F-2B.
Likewise, when you become a US citizen, you shift to F-1 status due to the different category for citizens compared to permanent residents. It's a critical distinction to understand, irrespective of whether you've formally communicated this change.
Client Case: Permanent Resident Petitioned for His Wife and Children
In this second story, our client was also a green card holder (permanent resident). He began the process of petitioning for his wife. Initially, it seemed like a straightforward procedure. He could include his three children in his wife's petition using the options because he had a green card.
With his wife and children in line for interviews, a curveball hits. Simultaneously, he gears up for naturalization, a transition many view as an advantageous upgrade from permanent resident status.
However, completing this shift relocated the case to a different US visa category, altering his children's standing.
Immigration Lawyer Insights
Becoming a US citizen as a permanent resident leads to important changes in status. There may be other effects you haven't thought about. It's crucial to thoroughly evaluate all angles before making this transition.
You can include all beneficiaries in one petition when you’re a permanent resident. US citizens must file separate petitions for each child.
Deciphering Rights and Regulations
This curious paradox results in Congress's intent to give US citizens greater privileges than permanent residents. However, the existing immigration law leaves no room for assumptions.
Before making this monumental leap, it's imperative to scrutinize every facet. One must refrain from assuming that one status inherently surpasses the other. Each has unique implications, underscoring the importance of making an informed decision.
Stay Informed: Visa Bulletin Updates, Priority, and Processing Timelines Are Key
It's equally important to grasp the significance of priority categories as detailed in the visa bulletin. The F-1, F-2A, and F-2B categories have unique processing timelines.
These timelines might not align with your initial expectations, underlining the complexity of the immigration process. Being aware of these nuances can significantly impact your visa application journey.
We recommend you always check the status and stay informed about the latest visa bulletin retrogression, priority dates, and processing times.
Seek Legal Advice and Ask Questions
The main point is simple: You must consider all the consequences if you're contemplating going from being a permanent resident to a US citizen. We encourage you to seek guidance and ask questions regarding your US status and US visa categories.
Our team of immigration experts offers their expertise to support you in achieving your immigration goals!