If I get married, does it affect a family petition?

In my Consulta Migratoria® column this week I answer a question from a reader who wants to marry her fiancé who is being petitioned by her permanent resident father.

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.

My boyfriend's father is a permanent resident of the U.S. and has applied to fix his papers. My boyfriend and I live in Mexico and we want to get married. Everyone tells us that we shouldn't get married because my boyfriend will lose the opportunity to be able to arrange it. Is this true? -Rosa G.

Rosa, if you get married now, it will affect your fiancé's immigration process.

Because your future father-in-law is a permanent resident of the United States, he can only petition for his children of any age who are not married. If you get married, your fiancé's immigration status is automatically canceled. But that changes if you wait to get married until your future father-in-law becomes a U.S. citizen.

Immigration law allows a U.S. citizen to petition for his or her children of any age, regardless of whether they are single or married. That means that when your future father-in-law becomes a citizen he could petition for his married son and you as his wife, derivatively.

Unfortunately, the wait is long in cases of family petitions for Mexicans.

If your fiancé is over 21 years of age and your future father-in-law has already filed a family petition on his behalf, he must currently be in the F-2B family category.

According to the July 2015 Visa Bulletin, cases of Mexicans under the F-2B category filed before April 8, 1995 are being processed. In other words, there is a wait of approximately 20 years for an immigrant visa to become available for your boyfriend.

If you marry after your father-in-law becomes a U.S. citizen, the case would move to the F-3 family category, which is for married children of U.S. citizens. But even so, the July 2015 Visa Bulletin indicates that Mexican cases are being processed under the F-3 category filed before April 22, 1994. In other words, there is a wait of approximately 19 years for an immigrant visa to become available to you.

I recommend that you urge your future father-in-law to become a citizen and not marry until he achieves his goal. Each of you should consult with an immigration attorney to evaluate your immigration options.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog InmigracionHoy.com.Send your questions to preguntas@consultamigratoria.com. 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) and presenter of immigration television segments of El Abogado a Tu Lado on NY1 News. He is a past President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and current President of the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.