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Immigration Corner | How long will my father’s petition take?

Published:Tuesday | May 7, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Good day Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My father started the filing process for me in 2017 and a DNA test was later done with the results relayed to the relevant authorities. At the time of filing, I was about a month from my 21st birthday.

My question is, how long is the process form filing to an interview date at the embassy and how can I position myself for when the time comes as I am still completing my studies?




Dear M,

If your father was a US citizen when he filed, and the file was received before your 21st birthday, you would be considered an immediate relative – child of a US citizen. In this situation, even after you are 21, you would continue to be considered a child and immediate relative for US immigration purposes. However, if your filing was not received by US Citizenship & Immigration Services before you were 21 years of age, you would be placed in a preference category and be forced to wait for a visa to become available. Over 21-year-old son/daughter of a US citizen is the first preference category (F1) and it now takes a little over seven years for a visa to be available.

If your father is a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), the process is different. If you were filed for under age 21, (F2A Preference Category), once you became 21 years old, your file would change category to F2B. Currently the F2A Category is taking two years for a visa to become available, but the F2B – over 21-year-old son/daughter of a green card holder takes approximately six years.

You should note in which category you fall into, and ensure that your filing is on track for processing.

If your green card becomes available before you are finished with your studies, you can enter the United States on your I-551 Visa (the green card) and apply for a Re-Entry Permit to request permission to remain outside the United States for up to two years – if approved. The Re-Entry Permit can be renewed – but both the initial application and renewal are subject to USCIS’ discretion.


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.