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Immigration Corner | Why is my husband stalling?

Published:Tuesday | March 26, 2019 | 12:12 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I would like your advice on this matter. I got married last year. My husband and my daughter, who are both green card holders since 2015, live in South Florida. His father filed for them. Although we got married last year, my husband has yet to file for me. We need a lawyer who can help us properly.

Do you think I should let him file for me? How long will it take?


Dear K,

The situation often arises where two people are in a relationship, maybe even living together and they share a child. The parent of one of the adults files a petition for the adult and their minor child to migrate to the United States, and the other adult has to remain in Jamaica. This is likely done because the processing time for an adult, unmarried son/daughter is on average seven years. Whereas, the processing time for an adult, married son/daughter is on average several years, and the petitioning parent has to be an American citizen.

This does lead to some amount of family separation as the minor child migrates with the now permanent resident parent leaving one parent in Jamaica. As soon as the permanent resident parent enters the United States and receives their green card, they can return to Jamaica and marry their significant other. It is important that the person enters the United States as an immigrant before getting married because if they marry after embassy approval but before making their first entry, their US resident status will be voided.

Your husband can begin filing for you now as a green card holder and that petition should take approximately two years from filing to interview. Some people believe that they have to be an American citizen before they can file for a family member, but that is not correct. A green card holder can file for their spouse, their minor children, and their unmarried son/daughter (over 21 years old). When a US citizen files for their spouse, the filing is considered an immediate relative petition and it usually takes 10 months to a year from filing to interview.

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.