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Who is Principal Applicant and Derivative Applicant

What does it mean to be the principal or the derivative applicant? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, and Washington D.C. We don’t often make videos about just one or two words, but these two words are sort of important words for you to understand at USCIS, the principal applicant or the derivative applicant. A principal applicant is the primary person, the person who has the basis for the benefit. In other words, in a marriage situation, one or the other of the spouses might be the principal applicant. Let’s say that somebody’s working on an H-1B and they’re applying for a green card. They would be the principal applicant if they are the ones who had the employer who sponsored them for the green card. The derivative applicants would then be everyone who is attached to that principal application.

Principal sort of means primary. It means number one, it means the main beneficiary. And then the derivatives are usually the spouses or the children of the principal or primary applicant. That word derivative is a strange word. Derivative, D-E-R-I-V-A-T-I-V-E, as in deriving from, as in breaking off from. Derivatives are people who are related to the principal applicant and who are sort of riding the coattails. They’re sort of following along the person who is the principal applicant, the primary applicant.

We also see this a lot in the asylum context. In the asylum context or in the deportation context, you’ll have the principal applicant and that’s sort of like, “Whose case is this? Whose case is this?” And then the derivatives are all the people that are underneath that application or included in that application. They might have separate applications of their own that are based on the principal’s future approval or they might be included in the application depending on which benefit you’re talking about. So, it’s not that big of a deal for you to understand that, but I thought I’d make this short video to explain it because we’ve been having a few people ask us in Immigrant Home about principal versus derivative. What does that even mean? Principal is the primary person and derivative are those people, spouse, child number one, child number two, child number three, who follow along or are included in that application.

If you’re thinking about filing an application with principal applicants and derivatives, or just any kind of immigration benefit, give us a call (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we have our immigration answers live show. We’re getting hundreds of people watching now and thousands of views after. People, for some reason, really like the show. Special guest Daniel Axelbaum is now back with me on the show, so that’s making it extra fun. Hope y’all are well. Peace out.

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