The immigrant visa that your relative will receive will change when becoming a U.S. Citizen. The visa category for a petition for minor children (under 21 and unmarried) or your spouse while you are a Lawful Permanent Resident is family second preference (F2A). When becoming a U.S. Citizen, the National Visa Center (NVC) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will upgrade the petition to an immediate relative (IR). The benefit behind this category change is the limitless number of visas that can be issued to a family member each year.
The category of the petition for adult and unmarried children is changed by the NVC or USCIS from family second preference (F2B) to family first preference (F1). Usually, this is a positive change as typically the backlog in F2B is longer than that in F1. However, for the past few years, the backlog in F1 has been longer than that of F2B. Fortunately, applicants can opt out of the F1 visa category under a federal law called the Child Status Protection Act. This law allows U.S. citizens with an approved petition for their unmarried adult children to opt out of the conversion from F2B to F1.
This can be done by first submitting proof of U.S. Citizenship to NVC or USCIS. Then for applicants whose case is at NVC, they need to submit a request using NVC's online inquiry form. NVC will then forward the request to USCIS, and the category be changed back to F2B. For applicants whose case is at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas, the applicant needs to ask the embassy or consulate to submit the request. The officer at the embassy or consulate will then adjust the visa category upon receipt of USCIS' approval.
If you have any questions, please contact our office at 201-462-9500 or email us at [email protected].