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How Do I Bring My Child, Son or Daughter to Live in the United States?
These are the basic steps required by a US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident of the USA. These steps should be followed as a guideline and not as specific requirements for any given case. Every case is unique and this does not address that uniqueness. This document contains condensed and general information obtained from www.uscis.gov, the primary source of reference for this document.


This information is for United Stated (U.S.) citizens and lawful permanent residents who wish to bring their child(ren) to live permanently in the U.S.

NOTE: If you are a US CItizen filing for a K1 or K3 Visa for your non-US fiance/spouse, and they have children, then they may bring them here under a K2/K3 Visa. The children automatically qualify fro the K2/K3 visa as derivitive status of their mom's K1/K3 status (you need only petition for your fiance/wife and list the children on that petition in the relavent blanks).


Definition of a Child

The immigration law defines a 'child' as an unmarried person under the age of 21 (a minor) who is

A child born to parents who are married to each other (born in wedlock)
A stepchild if the marriage creating the steprelationship took place before the child reached the age of 18
A child born out of wedlock (the parents were not married at the time the child was born). Note: If the father is filing the petition, proof of a bona fide (real and established) relationship with the father must be supplied.
An adopted child if the child was adopted before the age of 16 and has lived with the adoptive parent(s) in their legal custody for at least two years
An orphan under the age of 16 when an adoptive or prospective adoptive parent files a visa petition on his or her behalf, who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or is coming to the U.S. for adoption by a U.S. citizen, or
A child adopted who is under the age of 18 and the natural sibling of an orphan or adopted child under the age of 16, if adopted with or after the sibling. The child must also otherwise fit the definition of orphan or adopted child

Definition of a Son or Daughter

An unmarried 'son or daughter' is a person who was once a 'child' but who is now 21 years of age or older. A 'married son or daughter' is a person who has a recognized parent-child relationship, but who is also married, regardless of age.

Overview of Immigration Process

A legal immigrant (or 'lawful permanent resident') is a foreign national who has been granted the privilege of living and working permanently in the United States. There is a three-step process for your child or son or daughter to become a legal immigrant.

1. You must obtain USCIS approval of an immigrant visa petition that you file for your child, son or daughter.

2. The State Department must then give your son or daughter an immigrant visa number, even if he or she is already in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and the child is both under 21 years of age and unmarried, a visa number is not required.

3. If your child or son or daughter is outside the United States, he or she will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa when one becomes available. If your child or son or daughter is legally in the U.S. when an immigrant visa number becomes available (or if one is not required), he or she may apply to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident using the Form I-485.

What Does the Law Say?

The Immigration and Nationality Act is the law that governs the admission of all immigrants to the United States. For the part of the law concerning immigrant status for children, sons, and daughters, please see INA § 202, INA § 203 and INA § 204. The specific eligibility requirements and procedures for qualifying for immigrant visas and permanent residence are included in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 8 CFR § 204.1, 8 CFR § 204.2, 8 CFR § 204.3 , and 8 CFR § 245.
 
Who is Eligible to Be a Sponsor?

A U.S. citizen may petition for:

A child (unmarried and under 21 years of age)
An unmarried son or daughter ( 21 years of age and older)
A married son or daughter of any age

A U.S. citizen's unmarried, minor child is considered an immediate relative, does not need a visa number, and is eligible to receive an immigrant visa immediately. Otherwise, sons and daughters of U.S. citizens will be eligible for a visa when their priority date is listed on the Department of State's Visa Bulletin .

If your unmarried, minor child was admitted or paroled into the U.S., he or she may file the Form I-485, Application to Register for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, at the time you file your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.


A lawful permanent resident may petition for:

A child (unmarried and under 21 years of age)
An unmarried son or daughter ( 21 years of age and older)

A lawful permanent resident may not petition for a married son or daughter.

If you had children before you became a permanent resident and you did not immigrate as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, your unmarried, minor children may be eligible to receive following-to-join benefits. This means that you do not have to submit a separate USCIS Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for your children, and your children will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. See the Petitioning Procedures for more information on following-to-join benefits. Otherwise, children of LPRs will be eligible for a visa when their priority date is listed on the Department of State Visa Bulletin.


How Do I File the Petition?

To petition for your child, son, or daughter to live in the United States permanently you should file a form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. To find out how to file this petition, please see Petitioning Procedures, which will help you identify what you need to do.

How Can I Check the Status of My Visa Petition?

To check the status of your visa petition, you can check the processing times for the location you filed.

 
Can Anyone Help Me?
If advice is needed, you may contact the USCIS District Office near your home for a list of community-based, non-profit organizations that may be able to help you in applying for an immigration benefit.


Note: For complete and always up to date information we always recommend you visit www.uscis.gov.