by Attorney Carol Pedersen

Question: Hi, I have a US Citizen daughter that was born in the U.S. while I was a student there many years ago. She turned 21 last year and filed a petition to sponsor me and the case was approved. I got a letter saying that my case is at the National Visa Center. But we just realized that even though my husband and 10 year old son were also included on my petition, for some reason the National Visa Center is only preparing my immigration case. So, I’d like to know if it’s possible for you to take over my case and add my husband, (who is my daughters step father since she was 12) and my 10 year old son, so we can all immigrate together, thanks.

 Answer: That’s a very good question and important for you to understand. The Immigration category for Parents of U.S. Citizens, called “Immediate Relatives” does not allow for any dependent (Spouse and children) to immigrate with the Parent to the U.S.. Immediate Relatives can only immigrate as individuals, not as a family. This is true even though your spouse and children are also listed on the I-130 Family Petition your daughter filed. In order for the spouse of a Parent (step-parent to the U.S. Citizen child) to be able to immigrate, the marriage between the U.S. Citizen child’s biological Parent and the step-parent must have taken place before the U.S. Citizen child reached age 18. If it did, then the step-parent can immigrate as a separate Immediate Relative, just like a biological parent would. However, children of the Parent do not qualify to accompany the immigrating parent. The only way the child, who is the sibling of the U.S. Citizen sponsor can immigrate through the U.S. Citizen, is in the F4 Immigration category for siblings, which can take 14 years.

In your case, since you married your husband when your U.S. Citizen daughter was 12, he qualifies as her stepparent and she can file a parent petition for him, just like she did for you, her mother. However, your 10 year-old son will not be eligible to immigrate along with either of you. The best strategy is likely for you to immigrate to the U.S. and immediately file to sponsor your 10 year-old son. Once you do, the waiting line for a visa in the F2A Immigration category for minor children of U.S. Residents is about 1 ½ -2 years. So rather than adding your husband and son to your petition, I will file a separate petition on behalf of your daughter to sponsor your husband and later, once you obtain your Green Card, we will take care of filing a petition for your son as well.

Question: I am 65 years of age and I have been married for nearly one year to my U.S citizen husband who is 52 years old. We are getting ready to file for my immigration papers and were wondering if there might be any concerns with the age difference since he is younger than me?

 Answer: As long as you are a real couple, married for love, not for immigration, and you present a very well prepared, comprehensive case to the USCIS showing extensive joint marital documentation, your case should be approved. The main problem couples have in marriage immigration cases is failing to understand what  the USCIS expects from them to prove a real marriage. Couples often use their own logic, not the reality of what the USCIS is expecting. This is especially true when they  have other factors which do not fit the standard marriage case, for instance when couples are different ethnicities or when there is a significant age variance. The best advice is always to prepare your entire case to meet even the most extreme USCIS expectations, so that even if you are assigned the toughest USCIS officer, you will be successful, because you will be prepared. The fact that you are older than your husband will not be an impediment as long as your marriage is fully documented and you are able to present lots of joint marital documentation. Let me know if you would like me to handle your Residency case to obtain your Green Card.

Click link for more questions and answers by Attorney Caroly Peterson: I miscalculated my time in America and stayed two days over the deadline



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