Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Immigration Corner | I want to file for my son

Published:Tuesday | January 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I currently live in the United States (US) and I am a green-card holder. My four-year-old son lives with his dad in Jamaica. What is the best possible route to get a visiting visa for my son? Can I go to Jamaica and go to the interview for him? Also, if I file for him, is it true that it won't come through until I get my US citizenship? I have three more years to wait to become a US citizen.

- SM

Dear SM,

You didn't indicate who filed for you to obtain residency in the US. Under certain petitions, minor children are considered derivative beneficiaries and are eligible to migrate at the same time as the primary beneficiary (you). If the derivate does not migrate at the same time, they can 'follow to join' within a year.

Applying for any non-immigrant visa, e.g., a visitor's visa, requires the applicant to convince the consular office that they do not have an intention to migrate, i.e., that they will visit the US and return to their home country. When an applicant for a non-immigrant visa has an immediate relative in the US, e.g., spouse, parent or US citizen adult son or daughter, the presumption that you intend to migrate is applied unless you can convince the consular officer otherwise.

If your four-year-old son applies for a visitor's visa with a permanent resident mother, it would be difficult to convince the officer that the child would be returning to Jamaica. You can make the application for the visa, but please ensure that you are truthful in answering all the questions and not hide any information that you may think will work against your son.

As a green-card holder, you can file a petition for your son to obtain his green card, you do not need to wait to become a US citizen. That process is currently taking two years. If a US citizen files for their minor child, the process takes about a year. Green-card holders can file for their spouses and unmarried children to migrate.

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