Safeguarding your petition, part 2

Safeguarding your petition, part 2

In a previous article I discussed some tips, strategy, and suggestions to safeguard your family-based petition.  Here are more suggestions and observations:

  1. Notify NVC of beneficiary’s marriage or divorce/annulment. Sometimes, a person is petitioned by their U.S. citizen parent while they are still single, and they later get married.  In other cases, a person is petitioned by their U.S. citizen parent when they are married, and their marriage is later terminated by divorce, annulment, or death of their spouse, making them “single” or unmarried. If there is a change in the beneficiary’s marital status, they should notify the NVC, as there is at least a 12-year difference in the waiting time between married and single children of U.S. citizens.

I had one consultation, where the child was petitioned in 2000 as married.  However, over the course of time, the marriage was annulled.  As a result, the person was now considered unmarried or single.  There was still a wait of several additional years if they were still married.  However,  as a result of the termination of the marriage, the priority date for single children of U.S. citizens was already current.  But they were unaware of the conversion of the petition classification and could have immigrated to the U.S. years ago as the single/unmarried child of a U.S. citizen.

On the other hand, if a person was petitioned as single, and later got married, they are considered married and subject to the priority dates of married children.  They should not try to sneak through as “single,” as that would be considered fraud.  Instead, they should notify the NVC of the marriage, and although it will require additional waiting time, at least they will now be placed in the proper family classification.

  1. Monitor the priority date. A person’s priority date is based on the date the petition was filed.  That becomes their “place in line” for a visa.  They then have to wait for their priority date to become current, in order for them to be eligible to receive their immigrant visa or green card.  But the waiting time can be anywhere from 2 to 30 years.  If your petition was filed and approved, you should continue to monitor your priority date.  For my part, each month I publish the monthly Visa bulletin on my website, Facebook, etc., which shows the current priority dates being processed.  There are also numerous other sites, including the State Department, that has the monthly Visa Bulletin.  Make sure your priority date has not already passed and has been current.

There have been some situations I’ve encountered where a person may have been petitioned by a brother or sister in 1990, and they say they are “still waiting.”  But the NVC is already petitioning brothers and sisters who had been petitioned in 1998.  Therefore, this person’s visa had been available for years, but they did not monitor their priority date, and were totally unaware that their visa was available for years.

These are only a few tips and suggestions while you are waiting for your priority date to become current.  If you have issues with any of these items, you may want to seek the advice of an attorney now, rather than risk “losing” your petition.

Also, when the priority date finally becomes current you may also want to seek the assistance of an attorney in connection with either eligibility for adjustment of status or consular processing, especially in this era of Trump, where the government is getting very strict, looking at public charge issues, and whether perhaps an elderly parent may become dependent on the U.S. government, thereby justifying a visa refusal, etc.


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