I want to be with my family
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
When my mother and father left Jamaica after my sister filed for them, I was under the age of 18. I couldn't go on the filing with them due to financial and school problems. Now I am free! How can I now go to be with my family?
You were not eligible to travel with your parents because it was your sister who filed for them. You were not a derivative of your sister's petition. There is a separate category for brother/sister petitions, and as a result, you could not have travelled with your parents once their visa was available.
Many people make this mistake because in other family categories, children under 21 years of age are derivative beneficiaries of those petitions. They also make the mistake because the DS260 (formerly DS230) asks the question, who will be travelling with you when you migrate to the United States? Placing a family member's name as an answer to this question does not mean that the person automatically qualifies to migrate. The person must qualify for a visa according to the law.
One of your parents should have immediately filed a petition for you once they received their green card. They should file for you now if they have not already done so. You didn't indicate how long ago they migrated and whether you are single or married. A green card holder cannot file for a married son or daughter.
You also have the option to apply to attend college in the States and for a student visa before your parent files an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. If you are successful with the student visa, it is critical that you maintain your student visa status as you will not be able to adjust your status in the States (via your parents' petition) and must collect your green card in Jamaica. Attending college in the States would allow you to be with your parents while your green card petition is pending.
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States, and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator, and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida; and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Justice. firstname.lastname@example.org