Hello Ms Walker-Huntington,
I am a married man living in Nigeria while my wife is a permanent resident in the United States of America.
We have a two-year-old daughter that is a citizen (whom I have never met, but I do speak to her on phone). Actually, our first son, a six-year-old boy, is with me here in Nigeria.
I have appeared at the US embassy in Nigeria twice. The first attempt was to visit my wife, while the second attempt was because I wanted to further my education in the US, but in a different state from where my wife resides. When the consular officer asked me if I had anyone in the United States, I said 'no', (I was being a fool), not knowing that they had the records of my first attempt. Now my wife has already filed for me and my six-year-old son. I am afraid of what I will face when I go for the immigrant visa. Please advise me.
Unfortunately, what you did by lying to the consular officer is considered immigration fraud.
You did not say how your wife came to be a green card holder, and whether you were married when she obtained her residency. Hopefully, your wife does not also have any issues surrounding her residency, e.g. gaining permanent residency as a single daughter when she was married. Also, I am curious as to why your six-year-old son did not migrate with his mother.
If your wife received her US residency lawfully, she should file two separate petitions for you and your son. As a green card holder, filing for a spouse and minor child (F2A category), that category is current and should take approximately a year for the filing to be complete.
Your wife should file two separate petitions as your prior false statement to the US embassy can result in the denial of your immigrant visa, and the requirement for you to obtain a waiver for misrepresentation before you are allowed to migrate to the United States. If your son is travelling on your petition as a derivative, he will not be granted his residency if you are denied or delayed.
The waiver will require that the petitioner shows that she is experiencing extreme hardship that can only be relieved if you are allowed to migrate to the United States, and that she cannot relocate to Nigeria to live with you.
Another concern that is evident is that you have not seen your two-year-old US citizen daughter. Does that mean that you have not seen your wife in two years either? If so, that is going to present an issue. When a couple is married and one party is filing for US permanent residence for the other spouse, the couple need to show that their marriage is real, that they are communicating regularly, that they are seeing each other regularly, and that they can document their relationship.
So, in addition to preparing yourself for the inevitable charge of misrepresentation, you will not get to that stage if you cannot prove that you have a bona fide marriage.
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. Email email@example.com.