Two different lines/processing times for family petitions

Two different lines/processing times for family petitions

Dear Attorney Gurfinkel:

I am a green card holder, and petitioned my adult single child in June 2015 in the F-2B category.  When I recently checked the USCIS website for processing times, it shows they’re processing F-2B petitions filed in late May 2015.  Does this mean my adult child will be eligible for his green card in about a month, as May 2015 is a month away from June 2015?  I’m so confused about processing times, priority dates, and visa bulletins, and what they all mean.

Very truly yours,

Dear RD:

For family petitions, there are two basic lines or processing times:

  1. The processing time for USCIS to approve the petition; and
  2. The waiting time for the visa to become available, based on the priority date (or date the petition was filed with the USCIS).

Just because USCIS approves the petition, does not necessarily mean the visa is immediately available.  It could take many years after a petition has been approved for the priority date to become current and the visa to be available.

For example, if a person wants to go into a theater, they must first stand in line to get the ticket at the ticket counter.  After they get the ticket, they must now stand in another, longer line, to get inside the theater.  In the same way, a person files a petition, and USCIS eventually approves that petition.  That is the “processing times” on the USCIS website.  But after the petition is approved, they now must wait for their priority date to become current, which can take many years, depending on the type of family petition.

In your case, although USCIS may be processing F-2B petitions filed in late May 2015, the priority date (or waiting time for the actual green card or Visa) is now July 2006 as of February 2018.  It is estimated that your child’s F-2B visa will not become available (or the priority date will not become current) until sometime in 2030.  Just because the petition is approved, does not mean the person will be immediately eligible for a green card.  They now must wait in the “second line” for the priority date to become current (unless they are an “immediate relative” (spouse, child under 21, or parent) of a U.S. citizen, in which case a visa is immediately available.)

You may want to consider other ways to bring these family members to the U.S. faster, such as through an employer’s petition, which might take about two or three years versus 10 or 15 years.  The employer does not need to be a Fortune 500 company.  It can even be a six-bed care home, as long as the employer is earning enough money to afford the alien’s wages.  You may want to consult with an attorney to consider if there are other, faster ways to bring your family members to the U.S.

Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 35 years and is licensed, and an active member of the State Bars of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different and results may depend on the facts of the particular case. The information and opinions contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories”, endorsements and re-enactments) are of a general nature, and are not intended to apply to any particular case, and do not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.

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