Thu | Mar 22, 2018

Immigration Corner | When can my daughter file for me?

Published:Tuesday | January 3, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My daughter, who is a United States (US) citizen, will be 21 in 2018. At what point can she start the process of filing for me and her stepfather? My concern is that she will be in her third year at college and only working part-time. Can any of my relatives (niece/sister) who are citizens assist her if she is not eligible?

- D.P.S.

Dear D.P.S.,

Once your daughter is 21 years old she will be eligible to file a petition for US residency for her parents. She can only file a residency petition for her stepfather if your marriage to your husband took place before your daughter was 18 years old. If the marriage occurred after your daughter turned 18, you would have to petition for your husband once you become a green-card holder.

As a US citizen, the residency petition, from filing to interview, should take nine months to a year if you consular process, i.e., if you remain in Jamaica during the process. If you enter the States lawfully, after 30 days your eligible US citizen daughter can file to change your status (and that of her stepfather, if she is qualified to file for him). The adjustment/change-of-status process takes four-six months.

In either situation (consular process or adjustment of status), your daughter can use a joint sponsor to assist with the affidavit of support application if her earnings are insufficient for immigration purposes. The joint sponsor in this instance does not have to be a US citizen in order to be considered. They will only need to prove that they can support their family and the intending immigrant(s) as per the Department of Homeland Security guidelines.

- 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.Email: