Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Immigration Corner | I do not want to live in the US

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:09 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

A family member of mine is filing for me to become a US citizen, but instead, I just want to visit my family there. If I don't show up for the interview, will I still be able to travel to the United States using my visitor's visa?

- MH

Dear MH,

Unless a person can claim citizenship from a parent (derivative citizenship), they have to first become a permanent resident (green card holder) before achieving US citizenship.

You did not indicate which family member is filing for you to migrate to the United States - to obtain a green card. It appears that you are either being filed for by your parent, spouse or sibling to migrate to the United States; or you could also be the spouse of a primary beneficiary who is being filed for by their US citizen parent or sibling. If you are under 21 years of age, you could be the derivative beneficiary of a green card petition filed for your parent.

All non-immigrants are presumed to have an intention to migrate that they must overcome in order to be granted a non-immigrant/temporary visa and to be subsequently admitted to the United States upon each arrival at the US border. When a person has an immediate family member in the United States, the presumption is raised even higher that the non-immigrant wants to reunite with their family member. This presumption makes it difficult for persons to be granted temporary/non-immigrant visas.

If you have a pending immigrant visa application filed by a family member, the presumption that you intend to migrate is at its highest. If you do not wish to migrate to the United States, you should inform your petitioner and ask them to withdraw the petition to make it clear to all relevant US government agencies that you do not wish to live and work in America. Missing your immigrant visa interview will not be sufficient to demonstrate that you do not wish to live in America, the visa will remain available to you unless specifically withdrawn. This is so even after your file is eventually closed at the US Embassy for not attending the interview. Your intention must be clearly stated.

- Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a mediator and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com