Why did you wait so long?

Why did you wait so long?

Dear Atty. Gurfinkel,

I was petitioned by my sister in 1990, and immigrated to the U.S. in 2013.  Unfortunately, I had to leave behind my eldest child, because she had aged out.  I have been hoping and praying something could be done for her.  Could she be covered by the Child Status Protection Act?  Is there anything else I can do to bring my child to the U.S.?

Very truly yours,



Dear GN,

First, I would like to point out an issue or problem I see common among many Filipinos who consult with me.  They wait years before consulting or taking steps to do anything for a family member left behind.  I’m not trying to be critical: I’m just trying to point out that if a person has any question or issue, they should consult with an attorney or take action immediately, rather than waiting.  The problem does not get better by ignoring it.

In your situation, you immigrated seven years ago, leaving behind a child.  That is seven wasted years of separation.

As far as eligibility under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), there is a complicated mathematical formula to determine a child’s age, which basically involves subtracting the processing time of the petition from the child’s age when the priority date is finally current (or visa is available).

If you immigrated to the U.S. in 2013, and filed an F-2B petition for your child right away, the child could now be close to immigrating under your petition, without regard to the CSPA.  That is because right now they are processing single adult children of immigrants who were petitioned in 2012.  Instead, you let seven years go by, hoping or waiting for something to happen.

While I cannot determine your child’s CSPA eligibility without considering and reviewing all the information and documents, other possible options are for you to finally file a petition for your child (even though you’ve already lost or wasted approximately seven years, had you file it right away).  Also, if there is an employer in the U.S. with a job related to her education, skills, or experience, the employer could petition her for a green card.  A petition by an employer might take approximately 2 to 3 years.

But the point or lesson I want to make is that if you have questions, issues, or concerns about your immigration situation, eligibility, or possible immigration benefits for your family, don’t wait years and years before finally consulting with an attorney to determine the best option.  Do not waste years, which translates to additional years of family separation.  Instead, consult with an attorney as soon as you have the issue or question.


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Your immigration case (and your future in America) are not something where you should try to cut corners or save money by trying to do it yourself.  Pres. Trump has made obtaining immigration benefits much more difficult and riskier, such that legal representation could greatly increase your chances for success.