Wed | Aug 21, 2019

Immigration Corner | My priority date has passed, what should I do?

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Good day Mrs Huntington,

I am 30 years old and I live in Jamaica. My father, a legal resident in the United States, filed for me and my now 11-year-old son in May 2012. I have been checking the Visa Bulletin and have noticed that the current date for the F2B category has passed my priority date. I contacted the NVC and they replied, telling me that my application is being processed through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) and no update can be provided on the status of my application.

I am somewhat confused though. Do I continue to wait until I am contacted by the NVC? Should I send in any documents? Do I need a lawyer to process my case? What is the next step?


Dear TW,

The CEAC is the arm of the US Department of State that processes visas. When an immigrant visa is ready for processing, the information is available at the CEAC website and that is where some of the processing can be done. You were notified where to go online to begin the consular processing phase of your application for permanent residency. You should have done so a while ago and had you done so, you would have received your interview already.

When a petition for US residency is filed for a relative who resides outside the United States, the petition is filed with the Department of Homeland Security. After the petition is approved, it is forwarded to the Department of State (DOS). Within DOS there is the National Visa Center (NVC) and the CEAC. Both the NVC and the CEAC process the application to completion and the NVC schedules the residency interview at the US Embassy in Jamaica.

You should immediately follow the instructions on the CEAC website to proceed with the application process. This will include making the necessary arrangements to pay the visa fee and completing all necessary forms and submitting the required documents. If you wait too long to continue the Consular Processing of your application, the file can be closed. If you are unable to complete the process on your own, then by all means hire an attorney to take over the process on behalf of your father and yourself. The clock is ticking, and after having waited so long for your file to be ready, you certainly don't want it to be terminated.

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