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Immigration Corner | long will the filing take?

Jamaica Gleaner 2019-10-08 12:20:00
Contributed Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Dahlia Walker-Huntington,

I am getting married soon. However, my partner was married before, and is now divorced. The parents of his ex-wife filed for them. He is a green card holder and would like to file for me, his daughters, and my daughter. I would like to know how to start the process. How long will the filing take? What are the chances of being successful?

Thank you.


Dear MB,

As the beneficiary of a green card holder filing for his wife and under 21-year-old children, you would be placed in the F2A preference category. Once the initial petition filed for you is approved, you have to wait until a visa is available in your category. For the last few months, that category has been current which means that once your petition is approved, it should proceed to visa processing.

If you marry before your daughter is 18 years old, your husband will be able to file for his step-daughter as well. If the step daughter is over 18 at the time of the marriage, you would have to wait until you are a resident to file a petition for your daughter to migrate. As a green card holder, your husband would only be able to file for his unmarried daughters and stepdaughter; and the same applies to you if you have to file for your daughter. Only an American citizen can file for a married son or daughter to migrate to America.

You have a couple options to do the process - you can hire a lawyer to represent you and your husband, or you can go to the US Citizenship & Immigration Services website and do the process yourself.

Since your petition would be a marriage-based petition, you have to prove the validity of your relationship and marriage. Be sure to keep all records of communications, trips to see each other, any money transfers and photographs – including your wedding; and any joint ownerships. The presumption will be that your marriage is only for a green card and the burden is on you and your husband to prove your relationship is genuine.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq. is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.