HOW DO I BRING MY CHILD TO THE UNITED STATES?
HOW CHILDREN, SONS & DAUGHTERS ARE DEFINED IN IMMIGRATION CASES
If you are a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident (i.e. green card holder), you can file a petition with the U.S. government to bring your child into the country. In a family-based immigration petition, a “child” is defined as being under the age of 21 and unmarried. If your child is over the age of 21 and/or married, they would be defined as either a “son” or “daughter” on your petition.
OVERVIEW OF THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
According to the eligibility requirements laid out by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), your ability to bring your child into the country will depend on your own immigration status. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can petition on behalf of unmarried children who are under the age of 21, unmarried sons and daughters (over the age of 21), and married sons and daughters of any age.
If you are a permanent resident of the U.S., or green card holder, you would only be eligible to petition for unmarried children under the age of 21 and unmarried sons or daughters. However, in either case, your child’s children or your son or daughter’s children may be included in your petition. If you are a U.S. citizen, you may also be able to include your son or daughter’s spouse on your petition.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCUMENTATION WILL I NEED TO PROVIDE?
When sponsoring your child, son or daughter in a family-based immigration case, you will be required to provide certain documentation. First, you will be required to submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
If you are a U.S. citizen, you will need to submit one of the following:
- A copy of your U.S. birth certificate
- A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport
- A copy of your naturalization certificate
- A copy of your certificate of citizenship
If you are a permanent resident, you will need to submit one of the following:
- A copy of Form I-551 (green card), front and back
- A copy of your foreign passport with a stamp
Finally, you will need to provide “proof of relationship” between you and your child, son or daughter. The required documentation will depend on your relationship to the child you are sponsoring.
CAN MY CHILD LIVE IN THE U.S. WHILE THE PETITION IS PENDING?
If you are a U.S. citizen who is petitioning on behalf of your child, your child would be eligible to apply for a non-immigrant K-4 visa as soon as you have filed Form I-130. This would allow them to live, work and/or go to school in the United States while your visa petition is pending. Applying for a visa is not required while waiting for immigrant visa processing, but it could reunite your family sooner.
If you need further information about bringing your child to the United States, please contact the Orlando immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Fisher & Frommer, PLLC. You can also visit the USCIS website to learn more about the process.