Wed | Feb 8, 2023

Will marriage affect filing?

Published:Tuesday | April 3, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Huntington,

I am over 25 years of age and unmarried. My father, who is a United States (US) citizen, sent in a petition on my behalf in 2008. I know that because of the category it will take about seven years. My boyfriend's sister is currently filing for him and his children, one of whom is my child. His filing is at the stage where they asked him to redo his medical exam. However, we want to get married. Would it affect my filing from my father or his filing? If we get married now, would I be able to be added to his filing now and enter the US with him when his filing is complete?

Please provide me with any other information that is relevant.

Thank you.

- T.T.

Dear T.T.,

As the unmarried over-21-year-old daughter of an American citizen, you are in the F1 preference category and, in April 2012, the US government is processing persons with priority dates before April 1, 2005. Therefore, if your US-citizen father filed for you in 2008, you have a minimum of at least three years left to wait.

If your boyfriend's US-citizen sister filed a petition for him for a green card, he would be in the F4 preference category. The US government is currently processing persons in that category with priority dates before November 8, 2000. You did not indicate why your boyfriend is redoing his medical. I am assuming that is because he may have been caught in the visa number 'rollback' and he had an interview before but a visa was not available to him and his priority date is now current.

If the two of you get married, it would change your preference category with your father, but it would not affect your boyfriend/husband's filing. Your father's filing would move from the F1 to the F3 preference category. The US is currently processing priority date of February 15, 2002. If you are going to proceed with your boyfriend's filing, you would need to get married immediately and then notify the National Visa Center (NVC) of your marriage at once. You notify the NVC of the marriage by sending them an original marriage certificate, your original birth certificate, and a copy of the biographic page of your Jamaican passport - by secure mail. The NVC would then generate an invoice for you for the visa fee and you would begin to be processed for the visa.

In the F4 category (brother/sister of US citizens), it does not matter if the person being filed for is single or married. In fact, if you are married to one spouse and you are divorced during the process and marry someone else, it is the spouse to whom you are married at the time of the interview who will migrate with you.

Since all of the necessary information is not in your letter, you should consult with an immigration lawyer and fully explain your situation so you can receive a personal response.

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