Does marriage cancel the family petition for children of permanent residents?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column, I answer questions from a reader who wants to immigrate to the United States.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

My late father petitioned me in 2006 when he was a permanent resident and I was single. The family petition was approved but while waiting for a visa I got married in the Dominican Republic. The National Visa Center cancelled my case upon learning of my marriage.

My first marriage ended in divorce. I am now engaged to a U.S. citizen and he wants to bring me to the U.S. after we get married. Did the government act correctly in canceling my father's family petition? Will I be able to apply for permanent residency through my future husband or is it no longer possible because they denied my case in the past? -- Juli T.

Juli, the National Visa Center (NVC) did the right thing by canceling the family petition your father filed on your behalf. Immigration law does not allow permanent residents to include married children in a family petition. They must remain unmarried throughout the family petition process. If they marry, their cases are automatically cancelled.

Your future husband may be able to help you obtain permanent residency if you both meet all the requirements. He will have to file a family petition on your behalf with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and prove that he is a U.S. citizen, that you are legally married, and that the marriage is genuine, that is, that you are not marrying solely for the purpose of obtaining permanent residency.

If USCIS approves the family petition, the case will be sent to the NVC for processing. During this stage, you will need to file an immigrant visa application and submit supporting documentation to prove your eligibility, including your birth and divorce certificates from your first husband. Your future husband will also have to prove that he has the financial ability to support you in the United States.

Please consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.