Tue | Apr 7, 2020

Immigration Corner | Will my marriage affect the filing process?

Published:Tuesday | February 25, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Dahlia Walker-Huntington,

My mother started filing for me in 2013. I got married in late 2015 to my daughter’s father. The final papers are now being processed. Will this be a problem for me? My daughter will be 20 years old this year.

TL

Dear TL,

If your mother is a United States (US) citizen and filed for you as a single, adult daughter, you would have been in the F1 Preference category. In February 2020, visas are available for persons with a priority date earlier than August 22, 2013. Currently, the National Visa Center (NVC) is processing the applications for persons with a priority date earlier than March 22, 2014. This means that it is currently taking approximately six and a half years for a green card to become available to the unmarried son/daughter of a US citizen. The primary beneficiary in this category can include their under-21-year-old, unmarried child as a derivative beneficiary when the visa is being processed.

If you marry while your US citizen mother’s petition is pending, that petition changes category from F1 to F3 – the married daughter of an American citizen. The processing time for this category is currently about 12 years and visas are available for persons with a priority date earlier than November 22, 2007. This adds about five years to the waiting period for a married son/daughter.

If your mother is a green card holder, you would have been in the F2B Preference, and if you married while that petition is pending, it would be voided. A green card holder cannot file for a married son/daughter. Even if you get divorced, the petition is voided once you marry during the process.

You may be receiving communication from the NVC if your visa (as a single daughter) is ready for processing. You need to advise the NVC of your marriage and not proceed as if you are still single – that would be immigration fraud and would ultimately lead to the revocation of your green card, if it were to be issued.

If you want to proceed with the visa application now, you need to be divorced and advise the NVC of both the marriage and the divorce. You should also keep in mind that your daughter is in danger of ‘ageing out’ once she is 21 years old, and that any decision that you make might impact her ability to migrate when your visa legitimately becomes available.

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. info@walkerhuntington.com