Are my spouse and children eligible for green cards if I did not include them on my green card application? What are follow-to-join benefits?

By January 16, 2019December 2nd, 2020Family Immigration, Immigration
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If you were married or had children at the time your green card application was approved and your spouse or children did not apply for their green cards at that time, they may still be eligible for follow-to-join benefits to allow them to immigrate to the United States.

The advantage of this procedure is that there is no need to submit a separate Form I-130 and your spouse and children do not have to wait until their visa number becomes current to apply for green cards. Please see more information about when your visa number becomes current here.

Eligibility for Follow-to-join benefits

There are two requirements that need to be satisfied for your spouse or children to be eligible for follow-to-join benefits.

  1. You must have been married/you must have had children at the time your green card application was approved and the relationship must still exist. After your child turns 21 or after your child marries, he or she is no longer able to follow to join you.
  1. You must have received an immigrant visa or adjusted status in a preference category. Your spouse or children can only follow to join you if you obtained your green card based on one of the following categories: Family preference category, Employment based petition, Religious worker or VAWA petition, or Diversity visa petition.

Applying for Follow-to-join benefits

 If you are in the U.S. and you are planning to apply for a green card and your spouse or children are outside the U.S. and are planning to apply for their green cards as well you can file Form I-824 (the form must be completed and signed by you) together with your adjustment of status application. In the Dependents section of Form I-824, you would specify the dependents (your spouse or children) who want to use follow-to-join benefits. The advantage of this procedure is that  that you do not have to file any additional documents except those already required to adjust your status.

 On the other hand, if you already adjusted your status, and your green card application was approved, you will need to submit the following document: Form I-824 (completed and signed by you), copy of your green card application, copy of your I-797 (Notice of Action) for the original petition, and copy of Form I-551 (green card). On I-824, you will need to specify which U.S. Consulate you want to notify and that will be the Consulate at which your spouse or children will have their interview.

The current processing time for I-824 petition is between 6.5-11.5 months. Once USCIS approves your petition, it will send you a Notice of Approval (Form I-797). USCIS will then sent the application to the National Visa Center (“NVC”). NVC will then send you a letter notifying you that it received the petition and it will explain the next steps. It may take up to 6 weeks to receive this letter from the NVC. Your wife or children will then have to submit visa application forms (DS-260) and supporting documents. Thereafter, they will be able to schedule an interview at the requested U.S. Consulate.

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15 Comments

  • Yzza says:

    Hi

    i married before my green card was approved based on employment. my husband is already in the united states for non immigrant visa. we didnt file together. van he still follow to join

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

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      Kind regards,

  • Qismat says:

    i filed I824 follow to join benefit and my application was approved by USCIS 7 months ago but my case has not yet transferred to NVC. i have contacted to NVC so many times about my case inquiry but every time they told me that they did not receive my case and they did not have any record about my case in their system. i have contacted to USCIS so many times as well but every time i get different answers from them like this is not the application to sponsor you spouse, this is the application to get duplicate approval notice only you should file i130. your case is still under review at Houston filed office (what review they are still doing after given the approval). two days ago when i called USCIS they told me that my case is at Houston field office and there is no any record shows that they have transferred my case to NVC. its really very hard to understand why they are not transferring my case to NVC.
    if you have any idea about such type of case, please let me know. i am looking for a compatible attorney who has information about how to sort out this issue and how long does it take to transfer my case to NVC.
    Thanks and awaiting for the response

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

    • Sherif says:

      Did you get any solution to your case i am the same like you

  • Charmaine Wright says:

    Hello, Is it possible to get benefits under this category if I recently married my husband. We have 2 children who are living here with me in the US. My husband is here visiting and is planning to return home. He did not qualify for the follow to join because we were not yet married. Or, does he have to file the tradional I-130 petition, which presumably take a much longer time to process

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Sye says:

    Hi. My i 824 directly transfered to us consulate instead of nvc. Now what are the further steps

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Sye says:

    What if i824 case is transferred to local consulate instead of nvc? What we have to do then ?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Pavel says:

    I really appreciate your article, it is the best one on the internet on the topic. I have one tiny question though, I have my I-140 approved and now I am choosing between concurrently filing i485 and i824 or inducing my spouse to I485. It is hard for her to come to the US, but not impossible.
    What I cannot find about concurrent filing is if i824 completely blocked before i485 is approved, or is it being processed in parallel? When does the clock for i824 start?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

  • Paul says:

    Thank you for the great article! The best one available on this topic!

    One more clarification, does I-824 start processing only after I485 is approved? Does concurrent filling anyhow speed up the process for a dependent?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

      Kind regards,

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