Sun | Nov 28, 2021

How do I prepare for this?

Published:Wednesday | June 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My mother started to file for me in January 2011. She visited Jamaica in May of this year and told me that she got a response from that the filing had been approved. What does that mean? I would like to know how much time I have to prepare myself. Also, I have a daughter who is 11 years old whom I would like to take with me when everything comes through. What preparation do I need to make?

- NW

Dear NW,

The length of time your filing will take until you are scheduled for an interview at the United States (US) embassy in Kingston depends on your marital status, your mother's US immigration status and your priority date. Your priority date is usually the same date that your filing was made - January 2011.

If your mother is a US citizen and you are single and over 21 years of age, you will be in the first preference category and the US government is currently processing persons with a priority date of March 22, 2007.

If you are married and your mother is a US citizen, then you would be in the third preference category and the priority date that is current is October 1, 2003.

If, on the other hand, your mother is a green card holder, then she could only file for you if you were unmarried. You would be in the F2B preference category (over 21 years old single daughter of a permanent resident) and they are currently processing priority dates of April 1, 2007.

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As you can see, if you are single, it is taking approximately seven years before a visa becomes available, and if you are married, it is about 101/2 years. These waiting periods fluctuate and you have to monitor the visa bulletin issued by the State Department. The National Visa Center (NVC) will now continue the processing as your initial filing has been approved and they will advise you that you are not to make any concrete plans to migrate until after you have actually received your visa at the embassy as there is no guarantee as to when a visa will actually become available.

Your daughter should not have a problem migrating as a derivative beneficiary of your petition under today's laws. Individually, you should be prepared to pay the visa fees for both of you when your file is being processed by the NVC, to pay the costs of your medical examinations in Jamaica, and the green cards once they are issued.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and personal-injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida; and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Criminal Justice. Email info@walkerhuntington.com.