Children of your Fiancee or Spouse
If your Fiancee or Spouse has young children, the question always is: Do we apply for Mother and child at the same time, or is it better to bring the Mother to the USA first, then apply for the children later? It costs extra money to petition for the children, and new couples want ‘private time’.
Petitioning Later, is a much SLOWER process
What most couples do NOT know, is that petitioning for the children later, is a much SLOWER process. Currently the wait is 3 to 4 years. The time needed, is based on changing annual immigration quotas. And until recently it was even slower: 4 to 8 years. What it will be next year is not yet known.
Don’t separate Mother from Child
As a matchmaker I advise any new husband who hopes for a happy marriage,
to avoid separating a mother from her children for such long times.
The most important thing to know, is that if the children are eligible, their permission to enter the USA will be approved JUST AS FAST as the Mother’s visa is approved. If however, the Mother enters the USA, and then the children are applied for, the time needed for approval for the Children is much longer. Depending on the the country they are coming from, the current delay is about 3 to 4 years, from the time the mother applies, which is AFTER she gets her Green Card.
The reason Mom and child together are processed much faster than Child alone is because of who is the official sponsor of the petition. If an American citizen sponsors his Fiancee and her child, or his new Spouse and her child, the US Government extends to the US citizen a ‘courtesy’ by expediting his request. Fiancee visas currently take 5 to 8 months, and Spousal visas take 12 to 14 months. For the husband and wife these seem like long times to wait. But as far as immigration is concerned these are quite fast processing times. The American citizen whether he appreciates it or not, is getting special treatment.
No Expedited Service for Legal Permanent Residents
After the mother has entered the USA, marries and receives her Green Card, she is now a ‘Legal Permanent Resident’. She is allowed to live in the USA
but she is not a US citizen. If the children are applied for later, it is NOT the
US citizen step-father sponsoring the petition, but it is the Mother who is THE official sponsor. Since she is only a ‘Legal Permanent Resident’, she is not entitled to ‘expedited treatment’. Her request is lumped in with all the other brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, etc from her country who want to immigrate to the USA. Each year quotas are set for how many immigrants from each country are allowed in. Each year the quota changes, and each year the processing delay time varies up or down.
Fiancee Visa Petition easily includes Children.
The Fiancee Visa petition is specifically designed to easily include dependent children (under the age of 21). There is no extra charge when filing the I-129F petition to USCIS ($340 with or without children). The children get approved as quickly as it takes for the mother to be approved, only 5 to 8 months. The child does not have to travel immediately with the mother and can join her in the USA up to a year later.
Spousal Visa is NOT Child Friendly.
The Spousal visa CR-1 is a request for immigration, for one person only, the spouse of the US citizen. If there are also dependent children to immigrate (under the age of 18), the US sponsor must submit additional I-130 petitions,
one for each person (Mother plus each child). The cost is $350 to USCIS per individual. The petitions if submitted together, should be processed and approved together, in only 12 to 14 months. The child has 6 months after issuance of the visa to enter the USA.
Include the children at the time you apply for the mother. Don’t start your marriage off on the ‘wrong foot’ by separating mother from Child.
Due to its faster processing time, and its ease to include the children, I recommend getting engaged, applying for a Fiancee Visa, followed by marriage in the USA. If ‘alone time’ is needed, the children can begin their trip to reunite with the mother up to a year after her Fiancee visa is granted.
By Fred Wahl
Fiancee Visa Coach