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Waiting to exhale

Published:Tuesday | March 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Huntington,

I am an unmarried 29-year-old writing to you regarding information concerning an immigrant visa. My dad is the petitioner.

I visited the Homeland and Security website and entered my receipt number. It stated it was in Post-Decision Activity and the I130 Immigrant Petition for Relative was approved on October 12, 2005. And was sent to the National Visa Center or the Department of State.

I have not received any information or been contacted, and I am unclear as to how far the process has reached. In addition, my sibling, whose filing took place after mine, has got all her documents and is now in the States.

I would be grateful if you could give me some information of what I should do regarding the matter or steps I need to take to find out how far the process is and how to go about getting all my documents to proceed.

Thanks in advance.


Dear J.H.,

You did not indicate if your father was a United States (US) citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder).

If your US citizen father filed a petition for alien relative for you, his unmarried over 21-year-old child, you would be placed in a preference category. Your father would have filed the petition for alien relative with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once USCIS determines your father is eligible to file a petition for a child and that you and him are biologically and legally related to each other, they would approve the petition then assign you a priority date.


Since you are not considered an immediate relative, i.e. the spouse, parent or minor child of an American citizen, you are placed in a preference category, assigned a priority date and placed in line to wait for a visa. As the over 21-year-old, unmarried child of an American citizen, you would be assigned the first preference category - F1.

Once the petition is approved, the file is transferred to the Department of State for further processing by the National Visa Center (NVC) and you would be assigned a case number or a KNG number. Currently, the priority date that is being processed by the State Department for the first preference category is June 22, 2004.

Petition for alien relative

If your father is a permanent resident (green card holder), he would also be eligible to file a petition for alien relative for you, his unmarried adult child. You would be assigned to the F2B preference category, and the waiting period in that category is usually much longer. The State Department is currently processing petitions filed February 1, 2002.

Normally, once the NVC receives the file from USCIS, they communicate with the beneficiary and advise that they have the file, the case number, the priority date and whether or not a visa number is available. If you have moved since your father filed the initial petition, you need to update your address at the NVC. Whether you changed addresses or not, you need to contact the NVC immediately and inquire into the status of your case. They may be reached at: National Visa Center, 32 Rochester Avenue, Suite 200, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801-2909.

There is some concern your sister whose petition was filed after yours has since been processed and is currently living in the States. If your sister's petition was filed before she was 21 and your father is a citizen, her petition would be approved much faster than yours if you were already 21 when your father filed your petition.

Make your inquiry sooner rather than later at the NVC because if for any reason you were contacted and did not respond within a year, the NVC will close your file.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises in Florida in the areas of immigration, family, corporate and personal injury law. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com or editor@gleanerjm.com.