Question: My mother filed a petition for me some years back. I am from the Philippines. She was a Lawful Permanent Resident at the time. Just last year she became a U.S. Citizen. I was sure that now it would take faster for me to get my Green Card. Unfortunately when I called, they told me that the Philippines, unlike the rest of the world has too much of a backlog on that category, and that it would take about 5 years longer because my mother became a U.S. Citizen. I think that is so unfair. Is there anything I can do?
Answer: Yes. The President of the United States has just signed a bill referred to as the Child Status Protection Act. While a large part of the bill deals exclusively with persons who are going to ‘age-out’ or turn 21 years old, there is a very specific provision in the bill for people in your situation. It is specifically for persons who are the unmarried sons or daughters of a Lawful Permanent Resident parent. Once petitioned, the visa number availability falls under a certain preference category for Lawful Permanent Residents. That parent petitions them and at some later point naturalizes and becomes a U.S. Citizen. This now moves the petition into a different category where the wait for most of the rest of the world (other than the Philippines) is considerably shorter.
Question: What exactly does this bill do?
Answer: It gives you the right to write the Attorney General and tell him that you do not want the preference to automatically change. In other words, for people in your exact situation, you can make an election for the preference to stay exactly the same as if your mother was still a Lawful Permanent Resident
Question: What exactly does that do?
Answer: It means that you do not have to wait another 5 years to get your Green Card. Let’s pretend that your mother is still a Lawful Permanent Resident. If the priority date is current now, you can apply right now for Lawful Permanent Residency without waiting another 5 years. You will be able to be joined with your family years earlier.
Question: It seems as though this law just came out. My mother filed the petition for me many years ago. Can I still take benefit of this new law?
Answer: The answer is yes. The law allows you to take advantage of this law if the petition for your family preference was filed, but a visa has not yet been issued, or you have not yet adjusted your status. Also, the petition for the family preference can be pending as of now either with the Department of State or the Department of Justice. It is a very nice law for people especially from the Philippines. Therefore, anyone who has been waiting years for this petition to become current, only to learn that they must wait many more years after becoming a U.S. Citizen, should take advantage of this law right away..