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The spouse and children of a principal applicant are entitled to derive immigration benefits from their principal’s approved visa petition and may travel to the United States at a later date. Under no circumstance will the derivative spouse or child be allowed to travel to the U.S. ahead of the principal applicant.

Following-to-join applicants may derive immigration benefits only if:
  1. The spouse or children were acquired before the principal applicant’s admission into the United States; and 
  2. The principal applicant gained lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or was issued an immigrant visa under the family-preference (F) or employment-based (E) visa categories or was issued a non-immigrant K or V visa. Foreign nationals who immigrated to the U.S. under an immediate relative (IR) visa category need to file a separate Form I-130 visa petition on behalf of their spouses and children.
  3. The principal applicant has not naturalized. Once the principal applicant becomes a U.S. citizen, a separate visa petition needs to be filed on behalf of the spouse and/or children to qualify for immigration benefits again.

Following-to-join derivative beneficiaries must present documentation establishing the principal applicant’s immigration status in the United States and their relationship to their principal. These include:

  • A copy of the child’s birth certificate issued by the National Statistics Office;
  • A copy of the marriage certificate issued by the National Statistics Office;
  • A copy of the principal alien’s registration receipt card or I-551 or a copy of the principal alien’s passport pages indicating admission to the U.S. as an immigrant; and 
  • If applicable, Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition.

To register a family member as a following-to-join derivative, the above documents may be faxed to the Immigrant Visa Section at (632) 301-2591 or mailed to the Operations Unit, Immigrant Visa Branch, U.S. Embassy, 1201 Roxas Blvd., Ermita, Metro Manila 1000. The documents must come with a letter of request clearly indicating the name of the applicant(s) and the applicant(s)' contact address and telephone number.

Once the Embassy ascertains the eligibility for following-to-join derivative status, it will provide instructions on how to apply for the visas.

It is important to remember that a child is only eligible for following-to-join benefits if he or she is a child, step-child or adopted child in accordance with U.S. immigration law.

Following-to-join family members whose Principal Applicant had Adjusted Status in the U.S. 

The State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) has been processing all following-to-join (FTJ) cases for derivative family members whose principal applicant had adjusted status in the United States. All FTJ case processing for Manila, including appointment scheduling, is now done at NVC. NVC is responsible for the collection of visa processing fees and documentation in support of immigrant visa applications. Applicants may wish to submit a copy of the Form I-824 to NVC to determine the applicant’s entitlement to derivative status and initiate processing the visa application. The NVC mailing address is 31 Rochester Avenue, Suite 100, Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801-2914, Attention: CMR. The NVC may be reached by email at

NVC will send an Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants (formerly Packet 3) to the applicant if qualification for FTJ status is established.