Wed | Mar 29, 2023

Immigration Corner | Should my sister file for me?

Published:Tuesday | October 19, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Dahlia Walker Huntington
Dahlia Walker Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am seeking your guidance on a matter. I am a Jamaican resident. My sister is an American citizen who is planning to file for me and my other sibling soon. I am married to a Jamaican man, and together, we have two children, ages 10 and five, who are both US citizens.

My sister got married recently, so she decided to hold off on filing for us in case it should delay her spouse’s petition.

I read an article of yours recently where you spoke about the S744 bill. Can you give me some clarity about this bill and how it will affect me? I would also like to know if our documents are filed, will it affect my sister’s spouse’s papers when she files for him.

I await your advice.

– S

Dear S,

Your sister can file for you and your other sibling without jeopardising or delaying her husband’s petition. Filing for multiple persons only affects the affidavit of support in that all the persons that a petitioner is responsible for supporting is included in the total number to calculate how much a petitioner needs to earn. If the earnings fall short, she can use assets to offset the difference (five times the difference) or use a joint sponsor. The sibling category is currently taking approximately 14 years for a visa to become available.

Under current US immigration law, your US citizen children can file for you and your husband once the oldest is 21 years old. However, we never know what the future holds, and so it might be in your best interest to have your sister file a petition to have it in the pipeline in the event that the law changes. If the current law remains in effect when your oldest is eligible, he/she can file for you and your husband to migrate, and that should take approximately a year for a visa to become available. You can have more than one petition at the same time.

Senate Bill 744 was introduced in 2013 and never became law. At this time, US citizens are still eligible to file for their siblings.

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 diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida.