Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Immigration Corner | Will this take long?

Published:Tuesday | June 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

A male in the United States military made a filing for his mother and sister, however the sister was over 18 at the time of filing. Is filing possible, and how long will it take?

Thank you.

- OP

Dear OP,

A United States citizen is currently able to file relative petitions for his parent, spouse, children, and sibling. The sibling category has the most applicants, and consequently, the longest waiting period for a visa. There are 65,000 visas available each year in that category and the current wait time is almost 13 years. This means that there are approximately 845,000 people waiting for a visa in that category, around the world, (not including persons from China, India, Mexico, and The Philippines). The age of the sibling beneficiary does not matter, neither does being single or married affect the petition.

When a US citizen son or daughter files a petition for his or her parent to live in the United States, if that intending immigrant parent has a child - the sibling of the petitioner - that child is not considered a derivative beneficiary. This means that the US citizen petitioner would necessarily have to file a separate petition for their sibling. This petition would be classified in the F4 preference (sibling) category and would take the approximately 13 years to be processed.

Upon receiving US residency, the parent of both siblings can file a petition as a green-card holder for their left-behind child - as long as that child is unmarried. (A green-card holder cannot file a residency petition for a married son or daughter). If the child is under 21 years old, they would be in the F2A category, and it is currently taking approximately two years for that petition to be processed. If the son or daughter is over 21, it takes seven years for a visa to be available.

- 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. info@walkerhuntington.com