Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Immigration Corner | Can I bring my children?

Published:Tuesday | February 21, 2017 | 2:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My mother has been a US citizen for nine years. I am 47 years old and my mom is filing for me. I was wondering if I could bring my kids along. they are 17, 13, 16 years old. I am wondering what's the best way for them to join the filing.

- D.G.

Dear D.G.,

If you are the unmarried son or daughter of a US citizen who has filed a petition for you to migrate to the States, you will be in the first preference category. In March, 2017 visas will be available for persons with priority dates of June 1, 2010 and earlier. If you are the married son or daughter whose US citizen parent filed an immigrant petition, you are in the third preference category and visas are available for those with priority date of April 22, 2005 and earlier. This means that those in the first preference category have a little less than a seven-year wait for a green card, and those in the third preference category have to wait almost 12 years for a green card.

When a parent files a petition for their son or daughter, they only file for that son or daughter. When the petition gets to the consular processing stage where the National Visa Center (NVC) is processing the application for the visa, the beneficiary - son or daughter - can add their 'after-acquired' children, spouse, or change their spouse if there was a divorce during the process as beneficiaries. At the commencement of the filing, all beneficiaries must be listed.

The NVC will send the necessary documents and invoices for all the beneficiaries. If the NVC overlooks any of the beneficiaries, you may contact them and so advise. If you failed to list your children or if they were born after the filing began, you must notify the NVC once they begin to communicate with you regarding your filing. If any of your children reaches age 21 before the visa becomes available, a calculation under the Child Status Protection Act must be done to determine if they 'aged out', or if they would still be eligible for the green card.

- 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 info@walkerhuntington.com.