A foreign-born person who is living in California may be able to qualify for a V nonimmigrant visa if they are the spouse or child of a permanent resident. The V nonimmigrant category was created in 2000 as part of the Legal Immigration Family Equity Act. People who qualify for a V visa will be allowed to live and work in the United States while they are waiting to secure their immigration status.
A person who would like to apply for a V visa must have been waiting for a green card for at least three years. The person's permanent resident spouse or parent must have submitted Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on their behalf prior to Dec. 21, 2000 or on that day. If a visa number has not yet become available for the person since Form I-130 or Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, was filed, they might be able to obtain a V visa in the meantime.
Obtaining V status is very important for individuals with pending immigration applications who would like to travel outside of the U.S. and then return. A person who has a pending Form I-485 may not be readmitted to the U.S. after leaving the country unless they have obtained status as a V nonimmigrant.
A person who thinks that they might qualify for a V visa may want to talk about their options with an immigration attorney. Family immigration attorneys might be able to help people to determine what their best options are for obtaining legal residency status in the U.S.