FB2A Could Become Current: Act Quickly

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) July 2013 Visa Bulletin includes some potentially wonderful news for individuals in the family-based, second preference “A” (FB2A) category. This category is for spouses and children of U.S. permanent residents. The FB2A category is usually quite backlogged, requiring years of waiting for visa number availability. However, from time to time, as with other family and employment preference categories, this category experiences rapid and significant forward movement. According to the DOS, this historically backlogged category may become “current” in the near future, which could provide a welcome opportunity to many MurthyDotCom readers.

Backlogs Typical in FB2A

This family-based (FB) category is appropriate for foreign national spouses and children of U.S. permanent residents. It is typically used when a foreign national marries someone who is already a lawful permanent resident (LPR). However, this option is also available when one spouse becomes an LPR after the marriage, while the other spouse and/or minor child/ren have not yet acquired LPR status. There are many families in this situation, largely due to rapid and significant swings in the employment-based (EB) cutoff dates.

Often Advisable to File Both EB and FB Cases

As explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Strategy to Deal with EB Retrogression: I-130 Family Petition (24.Sep.2012), a foreign national may simultaneously pursue both FB and EB cases in order to increase her/his options and, potentially, reduce the waiting time for visa number availability. Based on predictions made in the July 2013 Visa Bulletin, those who followed the suggestions made in the aforementioned NewsBrief stand to benefit from the FB2A priority date becoming current. This should allow eligible foreign nationals to become U.S. permanent residents through either adjustment of status or consular processing.

Not Too Late to File FB Case

Eligible candidates, who have not yet filed their FB2A cases, may still have time to act, but time is of the essence. Even if the FB2A category becomes current, as predicted, there is no way to know how long the category will remain current, or how far the dates will roll back, if retrogression subsequently occurs. Therefore, the earlier one establishes an FB priority date by properly filing an I-130 petition, the more likely it is that the individual will benefit from the date progression in this category.

Given the uncertainty of cutoff date movement, and the potentially brief periods in which to act on visa bulletin developments, foreign nationals generally should try to establish eligibility for more than one option, if possible. Therefore, even those who hope to benefit in the coming months by the expected movement in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India, as explained in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief July 2013 Visa Bulletin: EB Cutoff Date Movement Predictions (14.Jun.2013), should consider filing an FB2A case, if possible.


The movement of visa bulletin cutoff dates, and the interplay of the EB and FB options, can be quite complex. What is simple is that, whenever possible, having two options is better than having just one. The Murthy Law Firm is available to guide families who wish to consider the FB2A option and explore what this mean for them.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.