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February 1, 2010: How to Monitor Visa Availability for I-130 Upgrade

How to Monitor Visa Availability for I-130 Upgrade

I was a green card holder when I petitioned for my adult son in March of 2005. I became a U.S. citizen in April of 2008 and advised immigration of this change.

How does this change the waiting time for the petition? Where is the correct place for me to look on the Visa Bulletin?
— Anonymous

When a lawful permanent resident (petitioner) files an I-130 visa petition on behalf of an unmarried adult son or daughter (i.e. son or daughter over the age of 21), this is considered a preference classification that requires a visa number to become available before the beneficiary may apply for permanent resident status.

In this specific instance, the unmarried son or daughter would be in the family-sponsored second preference category (2B). If the petitioner becomes a U.S. citizen, then the I-130 petition is upgraded from the 2B category to first preference category. This is a significant upgrade because there is a shorter backlog for a visa number in the first preference category than then 2B category.

For example, according to the February 2010 U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin, visa numbers in the 2B category are available for I-130 visa petitions with priority dates before January 1, 2002. Visa numbers in the first preference category are available for I-130 visa petitions with priority dates before June 1, 2004.

Because you are currently a United States citizen, your focus should be on the first preference category. It appears that a visa number is not yet available for your son to immigrate to the United States. It is unpredictable how quickly or slowly the dates on the visa bulletin will move.

However, once the date on the visa bulletin passes your priority date, then your son should be able to immigrate to the United States, assuming he is otherwise qualified. It would be wise to check the visa bulletin every month by visiting www.travel.state.gov or through our website www.shanelaw.com and clicking on the Visa Bulletin link.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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