Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Immigration Corner | A matter of time

Published:Tuesday | December 27, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My boyfriend is being filed for. If we get married so he can add me and my children, how much longer would it take? My sons' ages are 16 and 10.

- K.B.


Dear K.B.,

If your boyfriend is being filed for by a US citizen parent and he gets married during the process, he will move from the F1 preference category to the F3 category. The waiting time goes from approximately seven years to 11 years. At that time, his wife and children under 21 years of age will be permitted to migrate with him.

If the petitioner is a permanent resident parent, your boyfriend will not be able to migrate if he gets married during the process because a Green Card holder cannot petition for a married son or daughter. If he marries during the process, the petition will become null and void.

Your boyfriend can continue the process as single and your sons will be allowed to migrate if they are under 21 years of age when the visa becomes available. If the eldest son reaches 21 before the visa becomes available, he will 'age out'. You will then have to investigate whether your son could be protected under the Child Status Protection Act and still be able to migrate. After your boyfriend becomes a permanent resident, he can marry you and file for you to become a Green Card holder. That process is currently taking about two years.

If your boyfriend is being filed for by a sibling, it will not matter if he is single or married. There will still be the danger of your oldest son aging out if the visa becomes available after he is 21 years old. The waiting time for sibling petition is currently 13 years.

If your boyfriend's petitioner is an adult US citizen son or daughter, they would have to file separate petitions for you and their siblings (your sons). Your stepson or stepdaughter would only be able to file a petition for you to become a permanent resident if the marriage to their father took place before they were 18 years old.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and Family, Criminal & Personal Injury Law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida.