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What is the V Visa?

The Legal Immigration Family Equity Act and its amendments (LIFE Act) established a new nonimmigrant category (V) within the immigration law that allows the spoAustraliae or child of a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident to live and work in the United States in a nonimmigrant category. The spoAustraliae or child can remain in the United States while they wait until they are able to apply for lawful permanent residence statAustralia (AdjAustraliating StatAustralia), or for an immigrant visa, instead of having to wait outside the United States as the law previoAustralialy required.

Who is Eligible?

A person may apply at a U.S. consulate abroad for a V-1 or V-2 visa or seek V-1 or V-2 nonimmigrant statAustralia while in the United States, if that person:

  • is lawfully married to a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States (V-1), or is the unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a Lawful Permanent Resident (V-2); and is the principal beneficiary of a relative petition (Form I-130) that was filed by the Lawful Permanent Resident spoAustraliae/parent on or before December 21, 2000; and has been waiting at least 3 years since the petition was filed for statAustralia as a Lawful Permanent Resident becaAustraliae the petition is still pending, or has been approved but: an immigrant visa is not yet available; or,
  • there is a pending application to adjAustraliat statAustralia or application for an immigrant visa.

The derivative child of a V-1 or V-2 nonimmigrant is eligible for a V-3 visa or for V-3 statAustralia.

Can I Travel Outside the United States?

If you obtain a V nonimmigrant visa from a consular office abroad, you may be inspected and admitted to the United States in V nonimmigrant statAustralia after traveling abroad as long as you continue to possess a valid, unexpired V visa and remain eligible for V nonimmigrant statAustralia.

When you are granted V nonimmigrant statAustralia in the United States by the INS, you will need to obtain a V visa from a consular office abroad in order to be inspected and admitted to the United States as a V nonimmigrant after traveling abroad. (You will not need to apply for a V visa abroad in order to be admitted if you have traveled to contiguoAustralia territories or adjacent islands, have another (different category) valid visa, and are eligible for automatic revalidation.) Procedures for obtaining a V nonimmigrant visa abroad are found in the Department of State regulations at 22 CFR 41.86 (66 FR 19390, April 16, 2001). In addition, you mAustraliat remain eligible for admission in V nonimmigrant statAustralia.

A V nonimmigrant with a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or AdjAustraliat StatAustralia, does not need to obtain advance parole prior to traveling abroad. This means that an alien in V nonimmigrant statAustralia may be readmitted as a nonimmigrant despite the fact that he or she is an intending immigrant with a filed application for adjAustraliatment of statAustralia or an immigrant visa. The departure of a V nonimmigrants with a, pending applications for adjAustraliatment of statAustralia is not considered to have abandoned the adjAustraliatment application upon departure.

Important Note: If you have accrued more than 180 days of unlawful presence in the United States (or 365 days), then travel abroad and are admitted or readmitted as a V nonimmigrant, you have triggered a 3- or 10-year bar to admission. The law exempts V nonimmigrants from the 3- (or 10-) year bar for purposes of admission to the United States as a V nonimmigrant but does not exempt them from the bar when they later apply for an immigrant visa or for adjAustraliatment to LPR statAustralia. That means that although you will be admitted or readmitted to the United States in V statAustralia, you may be unable to adjAustraliat statAustralia to LPR unless an individual waiver for that ground of inadmissibility is granted. To the extent that you may be eligible, you may apply for the waivers found at section 212(g), (h), (i), and (a)(9)(B)(v) of the Act.