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INS Issues Regulations Governing New "V" Visa Category
by Carl Shusterman

As we reported in the "News Flashes" section of the September 2001 issue of SHUSTERMAN'S IMMIGRATION UPDATE, on September 7, the INS issued regulations to implement the new "V" visa category.

To qualify for V status, a person must be the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition submitted by a spouse or parent who is a lawful permanent resident by December 21, 2000, the date of enactment of the law that established the new visa category. They must qualify for status under the family-based 2A preference category. The children of the permanent resident must be under 21 years of age and be unmarried. The current waiting time for persons in the 2A category exceeds 4 years. However, they may apply for V status three years after the petition is submitted, whether or not the 2A petition has been approved.

They may apply for V visas if they are outside of the U.S. or for a change to V status if they are in the U.S. The usual rules for applications for change of status are altered to allow persons unlawfully in the U.S. to apply for V status. The procedure for applying for V status is as follows: The applicant must submit the following:

  • A completed form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Status), along with the required documentation, the $120 filing fee, and, generally, an additional $25 fingerprinting fee;

  • The information required by Supplement A to Form I-539;

  • Form I-693 Medical Examination completed by a certified civil surgeon without the vaccination supplement;

  • Form I-765 plus a $100 filing fee if the applicant is seeking employment authorization.
All V-related applications and fees must be mailed to the following address: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, P.O. Box 7216, Chicago, Illinois, 60680-7216.

Caveat: While persons in V status may depart and reenter the U.S. before being granted permanent residence as long as they obtain a V visa in their passport, they are not exempt from the three and ten-year inadmissibility bars when applying for adjustment of status if they have accumulated 180 days or one year of "unlawful presence" in the U.S.

It is expected that several hundred thousand persons may be eligible to apply for V status.

To read the complete text of the INS's new V regulations, the INS press releases, the State Department's V regulations and other information about V status, see our "LIFE Act" page at

and scroll down to "New K & V Visas".

About The Author

Carl Shusterman is a certified Specialist in Immigration Law, State Bar of California
Former U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service Attorney (1976-82)
Board of Governors, American Immigration Lawyers Association (1988-97)
Phone: (213) 623-4592 Fax: (213) 623-3720
Law Offices of Carl Shusterman, 624 So. Grand Ave., Suite 1608
Los Angeles, California 90017