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Immigration Corner | Will my daughter be able to file for me?

Published:Monday | August 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I live in Jamaica and my daughter is a United States citizen by naturalisation through her father. She is now 19 years old. When she gets to 21, she will still be a student. Will she be able to file a petition on my behalf, and if so, what sort of help would she need.

Thank you in advance for your help.

- M

Dear M,

As of the writing of this response, your United States citizen daughter will be able to file for your US residency when she is 21 years of age. I qualify because this category of relatives has been slated by Donald Trump and some of his Republican allies for elimination. If the law does not change, any United States citizen over the age of 21 will be able to continue to file for their parents.

Almost all family petitions for US residency - including US citizens filing for their parents - are required to file an affidavit of support to demonstrate that the intending immigrant will not become a public charge on the government of the United States. As of now, if the petitioner (your daughter) does not earn enough to show that she can afford to care for herself, her family and you the beneficiary, she would need someone else to also submit an affidavit of support. There are guidelines that show how much the US government wants each petitioner to earn depending on the size of their family, and they have to disclose their income and tax records during the process.

The second person doing an affidavit of support is the joint sponsor, and they too would have to show their income and tax records to prove that they could afford to support themselves and the intending immigrant. If the financial sponsors do not earn enough to meet the guidelines, there are provisions to use assets to make up the difference.

There is ongoing discussion by the Trump administration to change who can qualify as a financial sponsor by eliminating persons who received government benefits. At the time your daughter is eligible to file a petition on your behalf, you should consult with an immigration attorney as to what the requirements are for sponsorship.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, 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. Email: