Tue | Dec 11, 2018

I want a green card without the wait

Published:Tuesday | December 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My girlfriend was just filed for and is now a green-card holder. How can I obtain a green card without the three-year waiting period?

- JS


Dear JS,

Unless you have an immediate relative (spouse, child over 21 years old, or are the parent of an under 21-year-old child) who is a United States (US) citizen, you will have to wait in a preference category to get a green card. Beneficiaries of immediate relative petitions are immediately processed for a green card - that's usually nine months to a year - and are not placed in a preference category. When you are in a preference category, you have to wait until your assigned priority date becomes current, i.e., until a visa is available for you.

In your case you would need to legally marry your green-card holder girlfriend and she would have to file a Petition for Alien Relative for you to join her in the US. As a green-card holder filing for her spouse, your petition would be in the F2A category. Currently the State Department is processing applicants in the F2A category who have a priority date of March 1, 2015 and

earlier, and interviews are being scheduled for persons with a priority date of June 15, 2014 and earlier. This means that the actual waiting time for an interview in this category is currently a year and a half.

While the processing time varies in all the categories, you should marry your girlfriend as quickly as possible and promptly submit your petition.

- 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. info@walkerhuntington.com