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Ask the Consul

The Consul approved my immigrant visa, but said my children could not be included in my petition. How can my children obtain immigrant visas?

June 6, 2011

Immigration law allows unmarried and minor (under 21) children to be included in their parent's petition, but not always.  For example, if a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) petitions a spouse as Principal Applicant the children may be included in the same petition as "derivatives".  The children of a "derivative" can never be included.  If the petitioner becomes an American Citizen before the spouse and children are issued visas, the children can no longer be included in the parent's case.  The petitioner should always check with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to see if they can file separate petitions for their children.

If you are a derivative applicant and your child cannot be included in your petition, you should immediately submit a petition for your child when you receive your residency.  Your child's case will receive a "priority date" by USCIS. This date is very important as it determines when your child will have an interview.  If your child may change categories, and as a result wait times, you should request further guidance from USCIS.

The wait times for an interview can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5452.html.  Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date will be eligible for an interview.  The dates change monthly. Currently the wait time for a minor child of a LPR is about four years.  There is no wait time for the child of an American Citizen other than the normal processing time at USCIS.  If you become an American Citizen while the petition for your child is pending, please notify USCIS.  Please check our website http://santodomingo.usembassy.gov/ for more information.