by Rubina Chuang

Beginning August 1, 2013 through at least August 31, 2013, all foreign nationals who are the spouse or child under 21 years old of a U.S. lawful permanent resident (family-based preference category “F2A”) may immediately apply for lawful permanent residence.

What is the Family-Based Preference Category System?

The United States limits how many foreign nationals may legally immigrate to the United States per year. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets rules and regulations regarding how many visas the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will allocate to each country and, within each country, to each category of immigrant. The categories of immigrants are as follows:

First Preference (F1): Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens

Second Preference (F2): Spouses and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of a Permanent Resident

F2A: Permanent Residents’ spouses and children under 21 years old

F2B; Permanent Residents’ sons and daughters who are 21 years old or older

Third Preference (F3): Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. citizens

Fourth Preference (F4): Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. citizens

August 2013 Visa Bulletin

Every month, DOS issues a bulletin to update applicants on the availability of immigrant visa numbers. Since there are usually more applications than there are visa numbers per country and per category, the DOS visa bulletin shows applicants approximately how long they must wait before they can receive a visa number. In order to be eligible for a visa number-or, in other words, have a “current” priority date-a visa applicant must have submitted their visa petition before the cutoff date shown on the chart according to their country of origin and preference category. Those whose petitions were filed on or before the cutoff date are considered “current” and may apply for a visa.

The August 2013 chart for family-based immigrant visa numbers is below:


All Countries (except those listed)

China-Mainland born





Sept. 01, 2006

Sept. 01, 2006

Sept. 01, 2006

Sept. 01, 1993

Jan. 01, 2001








Dec. 1, 2005

Dec. 1, 2005

Dec. 1, 2005

Feb. 01, 1994

Dec. 22, 2002


Dec. 08, 2002

Dec. 08, 2002

Dec. 08, 2002

May 01, 1993

Dec. 01, 1992


June 22, 2001

June 22, 2001

June 22, 2001

Sept. 22, 1996

Jan. 08, 1990

According to the chart, all eligible applicants with petitions filed under the F2A category, permanent residents’ spouses and children under 21 years old, may apply for a visa beginning August 1, 2013.

Furthermore, if you are the spouse of a lawful permanent resident, or a child under 21 years old of a permanent resident who does not yet have a visa petition filed, you should submit your visa petition as soon as possible during the month of August 2013 in order to be able to take advantage of the current priority date for F2A and apply for a visa immediately. We do not know yet whether the category will remain current after August 31, 2013, so it is crucial to apply as soon as possible.

Also, if you are the spouse or child under 21 of a permanent resident AND you are eligible for adjustment of status in the United States, meaning your last entry into the United States was a lawful entry or you had a visa petition on file for you on or before April 30, 2001 (“245(i)”), it is to your benefit to file your visa application as soon as possible during the month of August. Even if the F2A category is no longer current after August, by filing in August you will be eligible to receive work authorization while your application remains pending. This will allow you to work legally in the United States until your application for adjustment of status is adjudicated.

**This blog is written for the purpose of providing general information only, and is not legal advice. If you have specific questions about your case, we suggest you call our office to set up a consultation to speak to an attorney.

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