Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Immigration Corner | What will happen to my father’s petition?

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2023 | 12:25 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I would like to ask a question about my filing.

My dad, who is an American citizen, filed for me in 2018. I am over 21 years old and unmarried. However, I would like to know if the process would be affected if I got married to an American citizen.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Dear AB,

As the adult, unmarried daughter of an American citizen, you are in the F1 preference category. In April 2023, visas will be available in the F1 category for persons who were filed for prior to December 1, 2014. This means that it is currently taking more than eight years for a visa to become available to persons such as you. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to long wait times for a visa in your category, and there is the promise by the US that visa backlogs will be cleared by the end of the current fiscal year in September 30, 2023. That is a promise, and it remains to be seen.

Since your fiancé is an American citizen, if you marry, you would become the immediate relative (IR) beneficiary of a green card. As an IR, your petition would be processed as quickly as possible, and pre-pandemic, that would translate into about a year. However, due to pandemic backlogs, it is taking much longer at the Department of Homeland Security processing centres to process phase one of the application.

Once you file a petition for alien relative and your receipt is received indicating the processing centre that will handle your application, you will be able to go to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website and check how long it will take for your file to be processed. After the file is approved, it will be sent to the State Department for visa processing. Once that is done, you will be scheduled for your interview at the US Embassy in Kingston. It is impossible to say how long that entire process will take, but a safe estimate is one to two years.

Once you marry your fiancé, your F1 preference category with your father’s petition will shift to F3. However, you will no longer need to rely on your father’s petition because your US citizen spouse petition should be processed faster. The choice is yours which way you wish to take, keeping in mind that there is no concrete timetable for either processing time.

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. info@