Immigration Corner | My husband filed for me, what's next?
Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,
I recently got married to a 53-year-old Antigua-born man who is now a US citizen.
Prior to that, I applied for a visa twice and was denied - once in 2002 and again in 2016. I don't know the reason for the first denial, but at the second interview, it was because I left one of my children off the first application. Back in 2002, I was in college and my roommate did the application for me. In 2016, the questions were more geared towards my profession and my kids. I had a job letter but didn't even know that I should have presented it, and I didn't take copies of the kids' birth certificates with me to present to the officer.
In light of the denials, my husband just put in a petition for me and I am wondering if now that I am married to a US citizen and applied for US immigration, if it's going be a problem, as my husband did not file for my 18- and 22-year-old children. Both are in university here and opt to complete schooling.
I got married in December 2017 and I know I would have to provide substantial evidence to state my claim. I have photographs, Western Union receipts and even airline ticket stubs of a visit we made to The Bahamas. He filed in May and included affidavits from my best friend and a co-worker of mine. He received a response stating that the application was received and how the process will continue. Can you advise me as to how to approach this matter and what to do?
All couples in green card marriage petitions must prove that the marriage is valid for immigration purposes, i.e., that the couple married intending to spend their lives together, that they know about each other and that, where possible, they share assets and debts. You are on the right track in procuring documentary evidence of your courtship and marriage; but you must continue to preserve all evidence of your marriage through to the interview.
If at the time of the interview you are successful in receiving permanent residency and you are married for less than two years, you will receive a two-year green card. You and your spouse will have to file a joint petition for a 10-year green card 90 days before the card expires. That filing will need to show evidence that you are still married and living with your spouse. If the marriage fails within the two years, you will have to divorce and the green card holder will file a single petition and a waiver of the joint filing for the 10-year card. However, if at the interview you are married for more than two years and are successful, you will receive a 10-year green card.
The fact that with your first non-immigrant visa application you failed to list all your children, could be viewed as fraud. It was enough for the consular officer to deny you a non-immigrant visa in 2016, a full 14 years after the initial application, and it is unknown what has been listed in your file - so it may or may not be an issue. It is important that on all applications during this immigrant visa process you are candid about any past visa denials and answer all questions truthfully.
If your children were under the age of 18 at the time of your marriage in December 2017, they would be eligible for your US citizen husband to file petitions for permanent residency for them. However, if they were over age 18, he would not. It appears that maybe your youngest child might be eligible for your husband to file. If that is so, your husband should go ahead and file for that child, because he/she would be considered an immediate relative and would be able to receive a green card within a year, as long as the petition is made before the stepson/daughter is 21 years old. Although the youngest is in school in Jamaica, he/she can receive the green card and file for a Re-Entry Permit that would allow him/her to finish school.
- 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 mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. email@example.com