Under Which Petition Should You Process Your Child?

Under Which Petition Should You Process Your Child?

Dear Attorney Gurfinkel:

I am a nurse, and I was petitioned by a facility.  I arrived in the U.S. in 2022 and filed petitions for my children in the F-2A category.  I was heartbroken when I saw the September 2023 priority dates because they are now only processing cases with priority dates before January 2018.  That means it could now be more than four years before I can be reunited with my children in the U.S.  Is there a faster way?

Very truly yours,



Dear MT:

I know it is very disappointing for so many immigrants who petitioned spouses and minor children in the F-2A category because that category had been “current” for so many years (meaning visas were available), but now it has retrogressed (moved backwards) several years.  Unfortunately, unless and until the priority date is current, an applicant will not even be queued up for an interview.  You would have to monitor the monthly visa bulletin and hope it moves forward and your priority date becomes current.

Another possible avenue to explore is that if a person is petitioned by an employer, the employer’s petition includes not only the worker (whether a nurse, caregiver, housekeeper, accountant, bookkeeper, etc.), but it also includes the worker’s spouse and children under 21 years of age.  In fact, you could have brought your children along with you when you immigrated rather than leaving them behind.

Even if you left your children behind, it could still be possible to reopen your employer’s case and have them “following to join” you and obtain green cards as your derivative beneficiaries under the employer’s petition, versus waiting years until your F-2A petition becomes current.  Of course, it will also depend on the priority date of your employer’s petition for you, as the priority dates for employment-based cases have also retrogressed.  However, if the priority date on your employment-based petition is still “current,” then your children would be eligible to be processed for immigrant visas right away.

If you have left behind family members in the Philippines, you may want to consult with an attorney who can evaluate your case and see if there are other ways or options where they can immigrate faster.  With the retrogression of priority dates creating many additional years of waiting, maybe there could be a faster way!


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