Mon | Apr 6, 2020

Immigration Corner | How long is this filing going to take?

Published:Tuesday | April 23, 2019 | 12:22 AM
Dahlia Walker-Hungtington
Dahlia Walker-Hungtington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am 27 years old and I have one child who was born in 2018. My sister filed for my mother and me in 2011. My mother got through and went to live in America in 2012, but my petition has not yet been granted.

How long will it take and is there going to be a problem because I have a child? Your advice would be greatly appreciated.


Dear SS,

I assume your sister is an American citizen since she successfully filed for your mother. That petition is an immediate relative petition and is processed without a waiting period, usually nine months to a year.

However, as the sister of an American citizen, your petition is in the fourth preference category (F4), and is the one with the longest wait time. Currently, it is taking approximately 13 years for a visa to become available in the F4 category. This means that you have about five more years to wait on that visa. Your child should be added as a derivative beneficiary once the visa application is ready for processing. If you should have other children during the process, they too can be added to the file. Likewise, if you are or should get married, your husband would be able to accompany you on your pending visa application.

If you are single, your green card-holder mother could have filed a petition for you once she migrated. A green card holder can file for an adult, unmarried son/daughter. That petition takes almost seven years, and had your mother filed, your visa would be just about ready this year. People do not often realise that green card holders can file for certain family members (spouses and unmarried children). At this point, whether your mother is a US citizen or green card holder, the timing of her application would be longer than the time remaining on your sister’s petition.

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.