Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Immigration Corner: A complicated case for filing

Published:Tuesday | September 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am 22 years old. My father holds a green card and lived in the United States (US) for 20 years and wants to file for me. He is living in Jamaica now, but he gets his pension from the US. I am concerned as to how smoothly the procedure will go. He and my mother were not married and my mother is now deceased. He married another woman and migrated with my elder brother and sister. Additionally, he was not registered as my father until now. We did A DNA test and his name is now on my birth certificate. Will these circumstances affect the process? Given that I am over 21, about how long would the process take?

- SS


Dear SS,

Your inquiry presents several issues.

1. As a permanent resident of the US (a green-card holder), your father can file a petition for his unmarried children regardless of age. If you were under 21 years of age, you would have been in the F2A category, and it is currently taking approximately 18 months for those persons to be processed for US residency. As a 22-year-old, you would be placed in the F2B category, and that takes about almost seven years.

2. The fact that your father's name was not placed on your birth certificate until many years after your birth and that he never married your mother places a twist on the filing. The US government wants to see (a) that he is your biological parent and (b) that you and your father had a parent-child relationship before you became an adult. Many petitions fail because of the inability of the petitioner and beneficiary to meet the threshold of a parent-child relationship.

3. Assuming that your petition is initially approved and you sit and wait for a visa to become available to you and proceed to the second phase of your filing (several years in the future), your father, as the petitioner, would need to complete an affidavit of support. If your father is not living in or domiciled in the US at the time of the filing of the affidavit of support, he has to show that his absence is temporary and that he maintained his domicile in the States or that he intends to return to the States with you when you migrate.

 - 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.