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OkieGuitarist

Anything Special in Paperwork for Stepchild?

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Hi, All.

I am going to fill out an I-30 for my Slovak wife to move here (hopefully next year). Originally, it was going to be just her coming over, but now, it looks like her 19 year old daughter (my stepdaughter) will be coming here, too. That's great news, but I am a bit confused. I know that I have to fill out a separate I-30 form for her, but do I need to submit the exact same paperwork as my wife. (My step-daughter is not married, so obviously, I wouldn't have a marriage certificate, but do I need to send birth certificate, photos, and criminal record history, etc? Is there anything special I need to send in when I submit the packet for her?) Thanks very much!

Take care,

Eric

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Hi Okie Guitarist,

I am sponsoring my two stepsons from Canada, and it has been a long process. Read everything carefully. I believe I sent in copies birth certificates of everyone involved, marriage certificate of me and hubby, and everyone's passports with the I-130 application.

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Hi, All.

I am going to fill out an I-30 for my Slovak wife to move here (hopefully next year). Originally, it was going to be just her coming over, but now, it looks like her 19 year old daughter (my stepdaughter) will be coming here, too. That's great news, but I am a bit confused. I know that I have to fill out a separate I-30 form for her, but do I need to submit the exact same paperwork as my wife. (My step-daughter is not married, so obviously, I wouldn't have a marriage certificate, but do I need to send birth certificate, photos, and criminal record history, etc? Is there anything special I need to send in when I submit the packet for her?) Thanks very much!

Take care,

Eric

Did you marry Mom before your stepdaughter's 18th birthday?

You do not need photos or police certificate with the I-130. Look at the Guides (button at top of this page) for documents to submit.

You will need the following; I-130, copy of your US passport, copy of stepdaughter's birth certificate, copy of your marriage certificate, and copies of any divorce decree of previous marriages or death certificates of previous spouses.

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If you did NOT marry her mother before her 18th birthday you can't petition for her. She will have to wait until her mother arrives and the mother will be the one that files. Otherwise you have to show that you have a valid marriage to the mother, that she is related to the mother and that she was under 18 when you married the mother.


This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this.

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Hi, all.

Thanks for all the replies.

I married her mom in Slovakia when the daughter was still only 18. So I will have to wait until her mom gets here and complete a separate I-30 for her?

For some reason, I just thought that as long as she was still under 21, I would be OK.

Now I am a bit worried, because the mom is the legal guardian of the daughter, and I would obviously want them both to come over at the same time. Otherwise, the daughter would not have a place to live. Is there any exceptions that can be made in this case?

Take care,

Eric

Edited by OkieGuitarist

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Hi, all.

Thanks for all the replies.

I married her mom in Slovakia when the daughter was still only 18. So I will have to wait until her mom gets here and complete a separate I-30 for her?

For some reason, I just thought that as long as she was still under 21, I would be OK.

Now I am a bit worried, because the mom is the legal guardian of the daughter, and I would obviously want them both to come over at the same time. Otherwise, the daughter would not have a place to live. Is there any exceptions that can be made in this case?

Take care,

Eric

Sorry, there are no exceptions. There is simply no way for mother and daughter to immigrate together. Mom will need to immigrate first. Once she gets her green card, she can file a new I-130 petition for an unmarried child under age 21. Your stepdaughter will wait about 2-3 years for an immigration visa.

In order for a USC stepparent to petition for a stepchild, the relationship must have been created before the stepchild's 18th birthday. The stepparent/stepchild relationship is legally created when you married mom. Since you married mom after your stepdaughter's 18th birthday, you can not ever file anything for her.

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=86493e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=86493e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

Who is Considered to be a "Child" in the Immigration Process?

For immigration purposes, a child can be any of the following:

A step-child, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred before the child turned 18

Edited by aaron2020

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Sorry, there are no exceptions. There is simply no way for mother and daughter to immigrate together. Mom will need to immigrate first. Once she gets her green card, she can file a new I-130 petition for an unmarried child under age 21. Your stepdaughter will wait about 2-3 years for an immigration visa.

In order for a USC stepparent to petition for a stepchild, the relationship must have been created before the stepchild's 18th birthday. The stepparent/stepchild relationship is legally created when you married mom. Since you married mom after your stepdaughter's 18th birthday, you can not ever file anything for her.

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=86493e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=86493e4d77d73210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD

Who is Considered to be a "Child" in the Immigration Process?

For immigration purposes, a child can be any of the following:

A step-child, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred before the child turned 18

Hi, Aaron. Thanks for the info.

That just seems crazy to me. By their definition, she is a child, since she's under 21, but she's not a stepchild, because she was 18 when I married her mom.

It seems they're essentially saying "In order to follow this bizarre rule we have created, we have to be content with splitting up a mother and daughter for possibly two to three years". Just because I didn't marry the mom by a certain time-frame, it's almost a punishment for all of us. If they are going to claim a child is under 21, why not just change the "18 rule" to 21 for consistency's sake? Or change the rule to make the definition of a child a person 18 or younger? I am a optimistic person and really hate ranting, but that's an absolutely ridiculous rule.

But I'd rather find out now than after I started filling out the paperwork. Thanks again!

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Hi, Aaron. Thanks for the info.

That just seems crazy to me. By their definition, she is a child, since she's under 21, but she's not a stepchild, because she was 18 when I married her mom.

It seems they're essentially saying "In order to follow this bizarre rule we have created, we have to be content with splitting up a mother and daughter for possibly two to three years". Just because I didn't marry the mom by a certain time-frame, it's almost a punishment for all of us. If they are going to claim a child is under 21, why not just change the "18 rule" to 21 for consistency's sake? Or change the rule to make the definition of a child a person 18 or younger? I am a optimistic person and really hate ranting, but that's an absolutely ridiculous rule.

But I'd rather find out now than after I started filling out the paperwork. Thanks again!

You are looking at it the wrong way. My 12 years old nephew is a child. However, he is not my child.

For immigration, you can petition for YOUR CHILD. Your stepdaughter is NOT YOUR CHILD. The law makes a generous exception for a STEP-CHILD. A STEP-CHILD is only considered YOUR CHILD FOR IMMIGRATION PURPOSES if the relationship was created before the stepchild's 18th birthday.

Your stepdaughter is not related to you by birth or adoption, so there is no legal relationship between the two of you. There is no legal paperwork to tie the two of you together. You have a marriage certificate showing you are related to mom by marriage. The marriage certificate does not bind you to any other member of your wife's family.

Edited by aaron2020

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You are looking at it the wrong way. My 12 years old nephew is a child. However, he is not my child.

For immigration, you can petition for YOUR CHILD. Your stepdaughter is NOT YOUR CHILD. The law makes a generous exception for a STEP-CHILD. A STEP-CHILD is only considered YOUR CHILD FOR IMMIGRATION PURPOSES if the relationship was created before the stepchild's 18th birthday.

Your stepdaughter is not related to you by birth or adoption, so there is no legal relationship between the two of you. There is no legal paperwork to tie the two of you together. You have a marriage certificate showing you are related to mom by marriage. The marriage certificate does not bind you to any other member of your wife's family.

Hi, Aaron.

That makes sense now. I just don't like the idea of leaving her in Slovakia for 2-3 years alone. (Her father is not capable of taking care of her).

Is there any other legal method that would allow her to move here faster? For example, coming over on a student visa, etc? I might just have to hire an immigration attorney, but I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money just to find out that there's no other way she could move.

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Hi, Aaron.

That makes sense now. I just don't like the idea of leaving her in Slovakia for 2-3 years alone. (Her father is not capable of taking care of her).

Is there any other legal method that would allow her to move here faster? For example, coming over on a student visa, etc? I might just have to hire an immigration attorney, but I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money just to find out that there's no other way she could move.

A student visa is a non-immigrant visa. The student must show she intends to return home after completing her course of study and show a home she will return to.

Tuition for an international student is also quite high - usually 2x or 3x the regular tuition. International students will not qualify for subsidized student loans.

I am not trying to discourage you from researching about student visas, but I suspect it is not an option when a $10,000 to $35,000 a year tuition is considered.

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A student visa is a non-immigrant visa. The student must show she intends to return home after completing her course of study and show a home she will return to.

Tuition for an international student is also quite high - usually 2x or 3x the regular tuition. International students will not qualify for subsidized student loans.

I am not trying to discourage you from researching about student visas, but I suspect it is not an option when a $10,000 to $35,000 a year tuition is considered.

Then that idea has been quickly forgotten. Haha

Let me throw a scenario out there. Might be unlikely or even completely "un-doable", but I suppose it's worth a shot:

When I start the I-30 paperwork for my wife (Zdenka), and she gets her green card, and then she submits the paperwork for her daughter (Sandra)

1. Could I bring over Sandra on an ESTA while Zdenka was here waiting for her green card? Of course, when Sandra's ESTA ran out, she would have to return to Slovakia in any case.

2. Once Zdenka submits the paperwork for Sandra, would the USCIS make any exception for Zdenka to travel back to Slovakia to wait with Sandra as long as possible.

An immigration lawyer told me this:

After Zdenka first receives her green card, she can enter the US and then files the case for her daughter, she can go back to Slovakia but we do not recommend that she stays more than 10-11 months. She would then have to return to the US and request a permit allowing her to remain outside the US for up to 2 years without risking her green card. Once she obtains this permit she can return to Slovakia. She can apply for a second permit, but it is not always granted by USCIS. She also must be INSIDE the US to apply for this permit. She cannot do it while she is in Slovakia.think they will allow her to travel back for a maximum of 11 months)

What is the name of the permit that would allow her to go back to Slovakia for that initial 10-11 months, or does she only need a permit if she were to stay longer?

3. Will Sandra be safe from "aging out" as long as her initial paperwork is received at the USCIS lockbox before her 21st birthday? (Dec. 2013)

Basically, I do want them both to be here together, and I willing to be away from Zdenka longer to make that happen. We were married in June 2011, so we are a bit used to being apart at this point. We only waited this long, because we wrongly assumed we could just wait until next May (when Sandra is done with school) and bring them over on one visa. That was my ignorance for not doing more research earlier. But as she was already 18 when I married her mom, I guess it wouldn't have made much of a difference anyways.

Sorry for the novel here. At one point, I had considered just moving there. It might be easier! Haha! But we all really would rather live here.

Thanks again!

Eric

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Then that idea has been quickly forgotten. Haha

Let me throw a scenario out there. Might be unlikely or even completely "un-doable", but I suppose it's worth a shot:

When I start the I-30 paperwork for my wife (Zdenka), and she gets her green card, and then she submits the paperwork for her daughter (Sandra)

1. Could I bring over Sandra on an ESTA while Zdenka was here waiting for her green card? Of course, when Sandra's ESTA ran out, she would have to return to Slovakia in any case.

2. Once Zdenka submits the paperwork for Sandra, would the USCIS make any exception for Zdenka to travel back to Slovakia to wait with Sandra as long as possible.

An immigration lawyer told me this:

After Zdenka first receives her green card, she can enter the US and then files the case for her daughter, she can go back to Slovakia but we do not recommend that she stays more than 10-11 months. She would then have to return to the US and request a permit allowing her to remain outside the US for up to 2 years without risking her green card. Once she obtains this permit she can return to Slovakia. She can apply for a second permit, but it is not always granted by USCIS. She also must be INSIDE the US to apply for this permit. She cannot do it while she is in Slovakia.think they will allow her to travel back for a maximum of 11 months)

What is the name of the permit that would allow her to go back to Slovakia for that initial 10-11 months, or does she only need a permit if she were to stay longer?

3. Will Sandra be safe from "aging out" as long as her initial paperwork is received at the USCIS lockbox before her 21st birthday? (Dec. 2013)

Basically, I do want them both to be here together, and I willing to be away from Zdenka longer to make that happen. We were married in June 2011, so we are a bit used to being apart at this point. We only waited this long, because we wrongly assumed we could just wait until next May (when Sandra is done with school) and bring them over on one visa. That was my ignorance for not doing more research earlier. But as she was already 18 when I married her mom, I guess it wouldn't have made much of a difference anyways.

Sorry for the novel here. At one point, I had considered just moving there. It might be easier! Haha! But we all really would rather live here.

Thanks again!

Eric

1. Yes. She can use the VWP. Many people from VWP countries visits their US relatives all the time.

2. The advice from the attorney sounds solid except for one potential wrinkle. There could be a BIG PROBLEM removing the condition on your wife's green card. Since you have been married for less than 2 years, your wife will receive a conditional green card with a 2 years expiration. Within 90 days of the expiration date, she must apply to remove the condition on her green card. The big requirement to remove the condition on her green card is proving that she is in a bona fide marriage with her US citizen husband. That will be difficult to prove when you are living in the US and she is living in Slovakia. Married people who petition to live together in the US usually don't end up living in two different countries. If removal of the condition on her green card is denied, she will lose her green card and she will be required to return to her home country.

3. No. When an LPR files for an unmarried child under age 21, age freezing does not occur at the time of filing. The age freezes when the Priority Date becomes current. Currently, the current PD in the F2a category is June 1, 2010.

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1. Yes. She can use the VWP. Many people from VWP countries visits their US relatives all the time.

2. The advice from the attorney sounds solid except for one potential wrinkle. There could be a BIG PROBLEM removing the condition on your wife's green card. Since you have been married for less than 2 years, your wife will receive a conditional green card with a 2 years expiration. Within 90 days of the expiration date, she must apply to remove the condition on her green card. The big requirement to remove the condition on her green card is proving that she is in a bona fide marriage with her US citizen husband. That will be difficult to prove when you are living in the US and she is living in Slovakia. Married people who petition to live together in the US usually don't end up living in two different countries. If removal of the condition on her green card is denied, she will lose her green card and she will be required to return to her home country.

3. No. When an LPR files for an unmarried child under age 21, age freezing does not occur at the time of filing. The age freezes when the Priority Date becomes current. Currently, the current PD in the F2a category is June 1, 2010.

Hi, Aaron.

I am starting to understand all the complexities of immigration now. Not that this is a good thing, necessarily. Ignorance is bliss! Haha

And I know understand why illegal immigration is so prevalent in America! (Not that I condone it, of course!)

Really, it sounds like the only two options to have Zdenka and Sandra together are:

1. Bring Zdenka over here, file for Sandra, and wait for however long a F2b visa takes (as Sandra will be in this category). And they would only be together after roughly an eight year wait. Obviously, we could visit as much as possible. But that's just not the same.

So that leaves the second option:

2. Move to Slovakia.

Obviously, the BEST case would be everybody living in America, but honestly, with that long of a wait, I just don't see if it's worth the hassle.

But I'll just have to have to figure out which one is best for all of us, given the circumstances.

Thanks for all your help, Aaron! And everybody else that answered!

Take care,

Eric

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Hi, Aaron.

I am starting to understand all the complexities of immigration now. Not that this is a good thing, necessarily. Ignorance is bliss! Haha

And I know understand why illegal immigration is so prevalent in America! (Not that I condone it, of course!)

Really, it sounds like the only two options to have Zdenka and Sandra together are:

1. Bring Zdenka over here, file for Sandra, and wait for however long a F2b visa takes (as Sandra will be in this category). And they would only be together after roughly an eight year wait. Obviously, we could visit as much as possible. But that's just not the same.

So that leaves the second option:

2. Move to Slovakia.

Obviously, the BEST case would be everybody living in America, but honestly, with that long of a wait, I just don't see if it's worth the hassle.

But I'll just have to have to figure out which one is best for all of us, given the circumstances.

Thanks for all your help, Aaron! And everybody else that answered!

Take care,

Eric

Eric,

I have been living on my own since I was 18. Lots of my friends have done the same. After 20 years without living with our parents, we are all fine. I just don't see what's the big deal with an adult living on their own in their 20s. Why can't your stepdaughter live on her own like all the other 20-somethings?

Heck, my 18 years nephew just moved from California to New York to attend NYU. He's only coming home at Christmas and the summer in his freshman year. He will probably get an summer internship in NYC after his 2nd and 3rd years which will complicate his visits home. He is living with roommates in NYC. It's a plane ride to see any relative.

If you move to Slovakia, you may not have a US source income. This will make it incredibly hard to bring your wife to the US later. Also, it does not change the calculus for your stepdaughter. 8 years from now, she will be in the exact same position as she is today on the immigration side - no option to immigrate to the US without mom gaining LPR status, filing a petition, and waiting for years.

Aren't the options for a 28 years old better in the US than in Slovakia?

Short term pains for long term gains. Trade waiting by herself for the next 8 years for a life with better opportunities in the US.

I would go with option 1. Just pretend that your stepdaughter left for college in another state. However, this is not my choice. It's yours. Best of luck.

Edited by aaron2020

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