U.S. citizens can petition for the permanent residency of their minor children, their minor stepchildren if the marriage occurred when before the stepchild’s 18th birthday, and their adult children regardless of marital status. Minor children are considered “Immediate Relatives” and enjoy certain benefits that adult children do not. For example, the process is generally faster and some bars to a green card do not apply.
Green Card holders can also petition their minor children and their unmarried adult children. These children do not enjoy the same benefit as “Immediate Relatives” and often have longer wait times. These children may be subject to immigration bars if there are issues like visa overstay or work in the U.S. without authorization.
Family Based Immigration
The Green Card Process
The process begins with a Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. If eligible, the child beneficiary may also apply for a Green Card (Form I-485) concurrently or after the approval of the petition. The USCIS local office may or may not invite the child and the parent for an immigrant visa interview before concluding the process. These children receive a 10-year green card upon approval.
If the child lives abroad, the child will go through the immigrant visa process abroad known as “Consular Process.” The child will have to appear at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate for an interview before he/she can move to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
Affidavit of Support
In both scenarios described above, the U.S. citizen petitioner must act as the financial sponsor. This step of the process requires the U.S. citizen to file an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to show enough income to support the foreign national child in the United States. If the U.S. citizen does not have the required income, he/she can add a Joint Sponsor to the case.
It is important to speak to a qualified immigration attorney to ensure you do the process right the first time. The process can be expensive and slow. Problems can lead to delays and even denials.
“I help people from all over the world live and work in the United States.
Start your immigration journey with me by scheduling a consultation.” – Immigration Attorney Ingrid B. Perez