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Immigration Corner | It can take up to 13 years for a visa to become available for a married child

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2022 | 12:06 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Greetings Mrs Huntington,

My father is in the United States of America and he is filing for his children. I recently got married. Based on what I am hearing, I will have to divorce my husband in order for the filing to come through. Is there any truth to that? I thank you for response.


Dear CBM,

When a parent files for a son or daughter, whether that petition can be successful or how long it takes will depend on if the parent is a green card holder or a citizen and if the son/daughter is single or married.

If the parent is a green card holder, he/she can only file for their unmarried son/daughter. If the petition begins when the son/daughter is single and they should marry before making their entry into the US as a green cardholder, that petition is void. A green card holder cannot file for a married son/daughter. However, if the parent is a US citizen, he/she can file for a single or married son/daughter. A single son/daughter is in the F1 preference category. That category is currently taking approximately six and a half years for a visa to become available. A married son/daughter is the F3 preference category, and it takes about 13 years for a visa to become available. The waiting period does fluctuate and has slowed due to pandemic backlogs. We expect the waiting periods to shorten by a couple of years by 2023 when the US government promises to decrease backlogs.

If your father is a green card holder when you got married, your petition is void, and you would either have to get divorced and start over, or you would have to wait for your father to become a US citizen and refile for you. If your father is a citizen and you marry while the petition is pending, you do not have to start over, but your petition would change category from F1 to F3, and it would take about five years longer for you and your husband to get a green card.

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.