How to emigrate as a child of a permanent resident?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer a question from a reader who wants to know how to immigrate his minor twin daughters.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

My husband and I recently obtained permanent residency through a family petition filed by my daughter who is a U.S. citizen. 

The notary who prepared our applications told us that my 12-year-old twin daughters who were born in Mexico would also be able to immigrate through my citizen daughter's petition. When we went to the consular interview, the officer told us that our twin daughters could not immigrate with us and that we had to petition for them separately.

Can we appeal the consular officer's decision? I do not want to leave my daughters in Mexico as they need our care. -Magda F.

Magda, the consular officer probably acted correctly and there is no legal reason for the consular authorities to change their decision.

As a U.S. citizen, your daughter can petition for her parents, spouse, children and siblings. But she cannot do so on the same application, because the process for a parent petition is a little different than for a sibling - not only in how the paperwork is done, but also because of the wait time for a visa.

By filing an application for your parents, you fall into the immediate relative category, and an immigrant visa is immediately available to you as long as you meet all the requirements. Generally, you should only wait for the processing of applications at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State.

Your daughter can petition for her little sisters, but that petition falls under the F-4 family category. The wait time for a visa for a sibling petition, if they are from Mexico, is approximately 18 years.

As you will see, the waiting time is very different.

Since your daughters are Mexican citizens, it is best for you or your husband to file a family petition so that they can immigrate more quickly.

When a permanent resident petitions for unmarried children under the age of 21, they are placed in the F-2A family category. In these cases, the waiting time, if from Mexico, is approximately two (2) years.

The availability of immigrant visas in the family category are published monthly in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin. You can monitor the Visa Bulletin by going to the following website:

Please do not use the services of notaries again. Only an immigration attorney or a representative accredited by the U.S. government can give you legal advice. Make sure that the person you hire has a current license and experience in handling immigration matters.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog

Send your questions to Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Los Angeles Westlake South Neighborhood Council. To contact Mr. Castillo's office, please call (213) 537-VISA (8472).