Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Immigration Corner | My mom is a green card holder, can she file for us?

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:07 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am a 35-year-old woman whose mother is a green card holder living in the United States. My question is, if she files for me, could she also add my two young kids to the filing, and how long would the process take?


Dear CS,

As a green card holder, your mother is eligible to petition for a spouse and her unmarried sons and daughters. A green card holder cannot file for a married son or daughter.

When your mother files a petition for her son/daughter, the son/daughter is considered the beneficiary of the filing. Any minor children (grandchildren) are automatically included as derivative beneficiaries.

On the application, your mother would list all your children, whether or not they are minors, and when the petition is ready for consular processing with the National Visa Center, the minor children will be given their own files. If you should have any additional children while the file is being processed, those children can be added at the consular processing stage.

However, if any of your children should reach the age of 21 before the interview, they will become ineligible for derivative status and considered ‘aged out’ of the application. The Child Status Protection Act may be available to assist derivative beneficiaries who aged out of the application process.

Currently, the waiting time for a visa in the F2B (adult, unmarried son/daughter of a green card holder) preference category is eight years. This waiting period can change, so do not be daunted by the seemingly long time to be reunited with your mother. It is important to begin the filing sooner rather than later, particularly since you have children who might age out during the process.

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 diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator, and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida.