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Immigration Corner: I think my wife is lying to me

Published:Monday | August 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My wife has been a permanent resident of the United States (US) for nearly five years and we have been married for three years.

The problem is she told me she started filing for me since January, but I suspect that she is lying as she refuses to provide any proof of the immigration petition. I want to be able to travel to the US to visit our six-year-old son, who is living with her, and work on the marriage, which I feel is on the verge of collapse. Is it possible to find out if an immigration petition was filed for me since she refuses to provide any proof of such a petition? Also, what are the odds of me getting a visitor's visa to visit my wife and child in the US?

- OD

Dear OD,

It is somewhat strange that your permanent resident wife to whom you have been married for three years does not want to provide you with proof that she filed a petition for you to become a permanent resident.

If she filed a petition on your behalf, she would have needed a copy of the biographic page of your Jamaican passport, two passport-size photos of you, along with certain documents such as your birth certificate and marriage certificate. You would also have needed to have signed one of several forms that should have been submitted with the application package. If you did none of those things, then it is safe to say that no filing has been done on your behalf.

Normally, you would need a receipt number to contact United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to locate your file and to give you a status update. You could also obtain a status update online with your receipt number. As a long shot, you could try to call USCIS without the receipt number, but the chances of them even attempting to locate a filing is remote.

You can apply for a visitor's visa at the US Embassy and be truthful on the application that your wife and child are in the US. If there is a pending application, the embassy will know and advise you of same. If you have strong working ties to Jamaica, the embassy may give you a visa, but in all likelihood, you would be told that you have an intention to migrate and not be given the visa. It is worth a try as you may find a sympathetic consular officer who understands that you want to visit your child.

On the other hand, a family member may be able to get your wife to tell the truth about the filing and provide proof if she has, in fact, filed for you - or tell you if she has moved on from the marriage. If she has moved on, then you need to secure visitation with your son.

• 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; and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Justice. info@walkerhuntington.com