USCIS announced that it is taking steps to speed processing of I-130 petitions (the family-based relative petition,a necessary first step in petitioning a relative for a green card).

The Department of State announced that it expects the category for spouses and unmarried children under 21 of lawful permanent residents (F-2A) to retrogress in the last quarter of 2014.

Since it takes several months for a visa petition like an I-130 to be approved, this means that green card holders who want to file for a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 should file their I-130 petitions NOW.

Since the summer of 2013, the wait for people in F-2A category has sharply reduced; what used to take 2 – 3 years is now taking less than 1 year.  Many of our clients have benefited from the reduced waiting time.  But if the visa numbers retrogress before your relative appears for their immigrant visa interview at the overseas consulate, you will have to wait.

If the green card petitioner is able to naturalize in the meantime, the petition they filed (even if approved) will be automatically upgraded to that of a citizen.  But if not, it makes good sense to file the visa petition now and not wait for citizenship.

Read more about visa preferences and family-based immigration.

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