V Visa: Staying in U.S. while green card is pending

Question: My name is Maya. My husband is a doctor. He has been in the U.S. for the past four years on a green card. He applied for my green card and the green card of our daughter. We got a receipt from the Visa Center in D.C., but till now we have not received the green card. We were told that it is taking between four and a half and five years to get a green card for a wife and child. We have just come to the U.S. on a tourist visa. Is there anything we can do to get our green cards sooner so that our family can stay together.

Answer. Yes. Recognizing the great hardship that people face when they have to leave their wives and children behind, Congress recently created a new visa category. This category of visa, called the “V” visa, will allow you and your child to come to the U.S. sooner than the four and a half years that green cards for spouses and children in India is taking.

The V visa applies only to spouses and children of green card holders whose petitions have been pending for at least three years. To be able to apply, your husband must have filed your petition before December 21, 2000 and the petition must have been pending for over three years. If your petition has been approved, you can still get a V visa if your petition was filed three years ago and if there is no immediately available immigrant visa.

There is another advantage to holding a V visa. On a V visa, you will be allowed to work in the U.S. If you are in the U.S. currently and have ever violated immigration laws so that you would be subject to the three- and 10-year bars from entering the U.S., on a V visa, you would not be subject to the bar.

Moreover, on a V visa, you will be allowed to apply for adjustment of status when an immigrant visa becomes available.


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