Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Immigration Corner: Can my parents file for me?

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My parents live in the United States (US) with my brother.

They allowed my brother to start filing for me in 2013 but as of now we haven't heard anything about the filing.

I will be 21 years old in the next two years. My parents want me to be in the US before I am 21 and they also want me to study over there.

They were wondering if they could take over the filing from my brother and if so, how long would it take?

- D


Dear D

Although you are under 21 years old, when your brother filed petitions for your parents to migrate to the US you were not qualified to be a derivative beneficiary and were unable to be included in either of your parents' petition. Some persons mistakenly believe that because they list the beneficiary's spouse and/or children on the initial petition it means that those listed will be able to travel with the primary beneficiary. This does not apply in all instances.

Your brother's petition for you places you in the F4 preference category and that category is currently taking more than 12 years for a visa to become available. This means that based on the date that your brother filed for you in 2013 it would be at least another 10 years at the pace the process is going for a visa to become available to you.

Your parents cannot 'take over' your brother's petition. One of them needs to immediately file a new petition on your behalf. The filing by a green-card holder parent for a child under 21 years old places the child in the F2A category and currently visas are available for persons who were filed for before September 1, 2014. At that pace (one year and five months) you might be able to be processed for a visa before you are 21 years old. If you are 21 years old before a visa is available for you in the F2A category, you will be moved to the F2B category (over 21-year-old son/daughter) and that is currently taking more than six years for visas to become available.

- 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.