Immigration Corner | Questions on filing
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
My mom has lived in the United States since 2007. She recently passed her citizenship test and is waiting to be sworn in. She started filing for her husband and my sister last year before her citizenship interview. She got a reply about my stepfather but nothing about my sister. My sister is 31 years old. My mom will be filing for me. I am 27 years. She is also filing for my two brothers, ages 26 and 36. How long will this filing take? Should she file for her younger or older kids first? My mom was filed for by my eldest brother who is an American citizen and lives in America with his family.
As a permanent resident since 2007, your mother is eligible to file for her husband and her unmarried children. The husband and any children under 21 years of age would be classified in the F2A preference category. In April 2017, that category will be current for persons with a priority date earlier than June 2015. Children of green-card holders and who are over 21 years old are in the F2B preference category and in April, those with a priority date of earlier than September 15, 2010 are considered current.
When your mother is sworn in as a citizen, your stepfather will become an immediate relative. He will no longer have to wait on a priority date to become current; his file will be processed through to an interview immediately. That, however, can still take some months. If your sister was under 21 years old when your mother petitioned for her last year, she, too, would become an immediate relative once your mother becomes a citizen.
When your mother upgrades the filing to the unmarried daughter of a US citizen, your sister will move to the F1 preference category and October 15, 2010 is the priority date that is current in April 2017.
Your mother can and should have filed for everybody as soon as she became a green-card holder as all of you would have been eligible for green cards for several years. She should file petitions for everybody now and you will all have to wait on visas to become available. She might, however, encounter the problem of being able to show on the affidavit of support that she can afford to support all of the beneficiaries. If that becomes an issue, she should get joint sponsors to assist as needed.
- 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. firstname.lastname@example.org.