Hello Mrs Walker-Huntington,
I live in Jamaica and my fiancÚ lives in the United States (US). He is also my child's father. I had a visitor's visa before, but it has since expired and I haven't gone back to the embassy to renew. The reason I didn't go back to the embassy is that I tried twice for a J1 visa and was denied, so I figured the B1/B2 would be the same.
We are aware of the fiancÚ visa but we are not so clear on the processing time as we are hearing several different periods - four to five months, nine to 10 months, etc. It would be nice if it would take four to five months. We have been together three years and he has only been here twice. Would that be OK? Also, he is a US citizen and my son was born when he was a citizen.
The fiancÚ visa is not designed for persons who do not know each other well and want to go to America to be with their fiancÚ to see if they are compatible and if they like being in America before they are married. If you receive a fiancÚ visa in Jamaica and travel to the States, you must marry the fiancÚ who filed for the visa for you, within 90 days and file to change your status to a conditional permanent resident. The fiancÚ visa takes nine months to a year to be processed and that is the same amount of time it takes to process an application for a green card if the sponsor is a US citizen and the beneficiary is in Jamaica.
In both cases the parties have to prove their relationship. In your situation, I assume that you visited your fiancÚ in the US while you had your visitor's visa. I'm not sure when your visa expired and when was the last time you and your fiancÚ saw each other. It may not matter that your fiancÚ has only been to Jamaica twice, if you visited him several times while you had your visa. It certainly matters overall, how many times you have seen each other and when was the last time you saw each other.
Since you no longer have a visa to travel to the States, your fiancÚ should definitely be visiting you and his child in Jamaica and documenting those visits. All communications between the two of you must be documented and if he sends money for you and his child, those transactions should also be documented. If the two of you own anything together, e.g., a bank account, etc., proof of that should be secured to be presented during your immigrant visa interview. Photographs taken during your visits with each other must be printed and preserved.
During his next visit to Jamaica, your fiancÚ should register the birth of his child as the birth abroad of a US citizen and apply for a US visa for the child at the US embassy in Jamaica in an attempt to transfer US citizenship to your child. You did not indicate if your fiancÚ was born in the US or if he is a naturalised US citizen. Transferring US citizenship to a child born outside of the US is a privilege and not automatic to every US citizen parent. In this case where you are not married to the father, the requirement that the US citizen father must have been present in the States for five years before the child's birth - at least two of which must have been after age 14 - can prevent the automatic transfer of citizenship. If the father cannot transfer citizenship to his child, once the child receives his green card and enters the US to live with the father before turning 18, the child can derive US citizenship from the father.
If you are comfortable in your relationship with your fiancÚ and are sure that you want to live in America with him, it is probably easier for you to get married in Jamaica and to have your US citizen husband file for your green card. Just remember to keep all documents and photographs. Take nothing for granted.
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@example.com