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Immigration Corner | How long will my husband's petition take?

Published:Tuesday | September 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Huntington,

I am a Jamaican living in Manchester, and I got married in March 2018. My husband is living in the United States. He is a permanent resident. He sent in his papers for citizenship in May of 2018 so that after he gains his citizenship, he can start filing for me. He said that he didn't want to start the filing process as a green card holder because it would take too long. Can you tell me how long it will take for him to get an answer from immigration about his citizenship?

- S.S.

Dear S.S.

As a permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States, your husband is permitted to file for you, his wife, and any unmarried biological children and any of your children who were under the age of 18 at the time of your marriage.

A petition for US citizenship can take up to two years. The receipt notice for the application indicates that it takes 720 days for the petition to be processed. Previously, a citizenship appli-cation would, in fact, take six to nine months to an interview. That is no longer the case under the current administration as most applications are taking longer to be processed. For example, in Miami, Florida, a citizenship application is currently taking 16.5 to 21 months to an interview.

The date a petition for your residency is filed - whether your husband is a green card holder or a US citizen - preserves the processing date for you the beneficiary. If your husband files now as a green card holder, it is taking approximately two years from filing to an interview at the US Embassy in Kingston. If your husband waits until he becomes a US citizen to file for your green card, he will be wasting the time it takes for him to become a US citizen.

Even if his citizenship is granted before your green card petition becomes current, he can update your filing from the spouse of a green card holder to that of a US citizen and not lose the time it took for him to become a US citizen. The petition by a US citizen for their spouse takes approximately one year to an interview at the US Embassy in Kingston.

Your husband should imme-diately file a petition for your US residency.

- 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.