Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Immigration Corner | How marriage could impact your filing

Published:Tuesday | June 20, 2017 | 6:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My boyfriend's mother is filing for him and she has already sent in the affidavit of support. My boyfriend and I are together for four years now. I got baptised last August in my church. I want to know if we should get married now, would it will mess up his filing? Please let us know.

Thank you.

- H.H.

Dear H.H.,

If your boyfriend's mother is a green card holder, your marriage would void his petition because a green card holder cannot file for a married son or daughter. If she is a US citizen, the marriage will change your boyfriend's category and, subsequently, his waiting period.

You didn't indicate what year he was filed for, but petitions for unmarried son/daughters of US citizens (F1 Preference Category) are taking a little less than seven years. In June 2017, visas are available for persons with a priority date earlier than December 22, 2010. If you get married now, your boyfriend would be bumped to the F2 Preference Category (married sons/daughters of US citizens), the priority date being processed there is July 1, 2005.

This means that it takes almost five years longer for married sons/daughters to get to an interview than it does for unmarried sons/daughters.

If you both choose to remain unmarried, once your boyfriend makes his entry into the United States as an immigrant, he can return to Jamaica and marry you and file a petition for you as his wife. That petition by a green card holder for his spouse, would place you in the F2A Preference Category and that category takes about two years for you to get an interview.

The choice is really yours and your boyfriend on how to proceed. On the one hand if his mother is a US citizen, he can choose to get married now and both of you wait the additional five years together in Jamaica. On the other hand, he can choose to continue as unmarried, and once he has entered the US as an immigrant and return to marry you, it would mean a two-year separation while you await your green card.

The important point here is to proceed honestly, and not complicate your lives because of expediency.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal,international & personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator,arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com