Historically, it used to be slightly quicker to immigrate to the US as an unmarried child of a US Citizen as opposed to an unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident. However, while green card holders aspire to become US Citizens, they may not be aware of an automatic conversion that is triggered by naturalization. Simply put, when a lawful permanent resident who has filed for an unmarried child (21 or over) becomes a US Citizen, the preference category automatically changes from F2B to F1. F-1 is the category for unmarried children (21 or over) of US Citizens, which happens to be running a little slower currently than F2B. This difference can sometimes mean a year or possibly more. The question may arise whether it is worth it for the lawful permanent resident to become a citizen or whether he/she will have to sacrifice a chance to naturalize in order not to slow down a pending case.
Fortunately, there is a solution called “opting out.” Opting out will allow a petitioner who has recently become a US Citizen to opt out of the conversion, and retain or stay in the original F2B preference category. This way, the petitioner will be able to become a US Citizen without unintentionally slowing down a pending case for his/her child. In order to take advantage of this protection, the petitioner must submit a written request to the USCIS office that approved the I-130 with a request to opt out, referencing the relevant information such as petitioner; beneficiary; dates of birth; and I-130 receipt number.
If you would like to explore this option or need help in retaining the F2B preference category, please contact our office for a consultation. We will meet with you and help you to determine whether this option can benefit you and your child.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.