Tue | Jan 22, 2019

Immigration Corner | Why is my petition taking so long?

Published:Tuesday | June 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington:

My sister filed for my brothers and me in 2010. It's now eight years. Why is it taking so long? I don't understand at all. I know it has been approved by immigration because we received letters from them in 2014. Is there anything that can be done to speed up the process? What are your thoughts about this ? I am waiting for your reply.


Dear D.E.:

When United States citizens file petitions for their sibling to gain permanent residency, they have an extremely long wait. As of June, 2018, visas are available for persons who were filed for before October 22, 2004. This means that you have at least six more years to wait for a visa,if they continue on this pace. When your visa becomes available, if you are married your spouse will be able to migrate- with you along with any under-21-year-old children and/or stepchildren. Because of the long wait, oftentimes, children aged-out, i.e., they are over 21 years old by the time the visa becomes available.

In some instances, those aged-out children can qualify for protection under the Child Status Protection Act and be able to migrate with their parents.

While your petition may have been approved by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, your file has been sent to the National Visa Center where it remains would have to wait until they are ready to process the file for the actual visa interview in Jamaica. That file will not be scheduled for an interview until a visa becomes available. Nothing can be done to speed up the process. You will just have to wait.

You should continue to monitor the progress of your visa category by checking in at www.travel.state.gov/visabulletins.

The sibling category (F4) takes this long because of the large number of applications and the limited number of visas available. Each year in this category, there are 65,000 visas available, and the wait time is now almost 14 years. Continue to live your life and equip yourself with education or a skill so that when you migrate to the United States you will be employable.

- 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