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AlbertanAmerican

Bringing half sister from Alberta, Canada to United States

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Last July I crossed the border and became a permanent resident of the United States through spousal visa. That is all good. My wife and I are happy. Yay.

However...... my parents I found out are getting divorced. I have a half sister in Alberta, Canada that I want to bring over to the United States (particularly Indiana) to live with us for at least a year (but probably until she is older). The situation sucks, but my parents could feed her and minimally take care of her (but I don't want her to grow up in that environment). I am looking into legal guardianship and possibly adoption options and will discuss with local family court in Edmonton, Alberta to see if it is possible to place her in legal guardianship or adoption status with me and my wife.

What I want to know is what are the paths in legal immigration I can take? Do I have to adopt or is legal guardianship from Alberta enough? Is there a waiting time for her to come over? Is there another path I am not thinking of? Does my wife who is a US born citizen affect this in any way? Could she be a legal guardian and have my sister come over? I am just heart broken over the situation and want to do something to help her.

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Posted (edited)

How old is your half sister?

 

I assume the quickest way would be if you could adopt her, and then your wife could petition for her as an immediate relative of a USC, since your sister then would then be her stepchild. You could of course also petition for her after adoption, but as an LPR but that would take longer than it would for a USC.

 

Edit: For an adopted child, they need to be under 16 and have lived with you for two years... so that won't work. For reference:

https://www.visajourney.com/content/child

Edited by LizM

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Posted (edited)

Adoption won't allow her to come here as her two biological parents are still alive. USCIS is really strict about giving out immigration benefits to adoptees, even if the adoptive parent is a USC.

 

You can file a sibling visa (see VJ guide) but that takes about 15 years. Your best bet is for her to visit, keeping her visits limited to the maximum length allowed, or a student visa, as advised above.

 

EDIT: Have you considered giving your parents a good lecture, individually, about their parental responsibilities? Sometimes this can be powerful coming from an adult son or daughter.

Edited by Russ&Caro

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, AlbertanAmerican said:

Last July I crossed the border and became a permanent resident of the United States through spousal visa. That is all good. My wife and I are happy. Yay.

However...... my parents I found out are getting divorced. I have a half sister in Alberta, Canada that I want to bring over to the United States (particularly Indiana) to live with us for at least a year (but probably until she is older). The situation sucks, but my parents could feed her and minimally take care of her (but I don't want her to grow up in that environment). I am looking into legal guardianship and possibly adoption options and will discuss with local family court in Edmonton, Alberta to see if it is possible to place her in legal guardianship or adoption status with me and my wife.

What I want to know is what are the paths in legal immigration I can take? Do I have to adopt or is legal guardianship from Alberta enough? Is there a waiting time for her to come over? Is there another path I am not thinking of? Does my wife who is a US born citizen affect this in any way? Could she be a legal guardian and have my sister come over? I am just heart broken over the situation and want to do something to help her.

It is dependent on the situation your sister is in as far as your parents are concerned. One of the most important hings you should know right now is that adoption does not guarantee immigration. There are many stipulations when it comes to adoption. Many have tried to adopt only to be denied bringing the child to the US. Also, if you sister is pass a certain age (16) then adoption for immigration is out of the question.

 

The second most important thing you should be aware of is nothing immigration related is going to be fast. Adoption/ guardianship process could take months to years to complete. Your parents could fight the adoption process for example, hence the reason another main requirement for adoption is the parents to be deceased or extremely unfit to be a parent. And only after the adoption is completed would you start immigration process which is multi-month long process.

 

It is really unfortunate what you are going through but there is noting immediate that you can do now with the exception of returning to Canada and taking care of your sister.

 

Other things to consider... you must be a US citizen for you to petition for your sister. The timeline for sibling petitions is more than 14 years and growing. Your wife would not have any way to petition for your sister as there are no visas for in-laws of US citizens.

Edited by Unlockable

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I am inclined to look at moving to Canada or F1  student visa.

 

OP is a LPR so can not sponsor a sibling until he Naturalises.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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As far as Canadian Guardianship I have not a clue, probably best to consult a Canadian Lawyer specialising in custody issues.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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I would like to add that getting custody of a child is going to be a battle. Canada makes it really hard for parents who are not deemed unfit to lose custody and that is a high bar.


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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Lemonslice said:

You might have to move back to Canada if taking care of your sister is your priority. 

Unfortunately this is likely to be the most practical option. 

How old is your sister? The student visa option is (1) not guaranteed especially under the circumstances (2) tricky if the child is not in college yet (would have to attend private school, basically; maximum one year at a public high school, at full unsubsidized cost, is allowed on a student visa).

 

adoption for immigration purposes doesn’t sound possible under the circumstances you’ve outlined.

Edited by SusieQQQ

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Posted (edited)

Even a student visa is not a given if the bio parents are not on board with the idea. They could very well deny their daughter leaving the country to go to school. It is well within their rights unless deemed otherwise by the courts.

Edited by Unlockable

“When starting an immigration journey, the best advice is to understand that sacrifices have to be made; whether it is time, money, or separation or a combination of any or all.” - NuestraUnion

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So after reading through the comments here is some new information: my sister is 12 years old and I may be able to get the bio parents' permission to bring her to the US. I think the best way may be through a student visa and host her at our house while she is going to school. Looks like there are a lot of private schools in my area (particularly Christian which may appease the parents). If I were to set her up for starting school in August or September, how would I go about getting her a student visa? Can she look at schools first by coming here to visit in the spring, go back to get her visa, and then return before school starts?

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20 minutes ago, AlbertanAmerican said:

So after reading through the comments here is some new information: my sister is 12 years old and I may be able to get the bio parents' permission to bring her to the US. I think the best way may be through a student visa and host her at our house while she is going to school. Looks like there are a lot of private schools in my area (particularly Christian which may appease the parents). If I were to set her up for starting school in August or September, how would I go about getting her a student visa? Can she look at schools first by coming here to visit in the spring, go back to get her visa, and then return before school starts?

You first need to check that the schools you are looking at are authorized to take international students (SEVP certified). As F1 is a non-immigrant visa you’ll also have to show proof that she will return home to Canada afterwards - having her bio parents back home will probably help with this, staying with a brother will pull the opposite way, so that’s the bit not guaranteed. You’ll also need to prove in advance that the school will be funded etc.

 

here is some basic info: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/kindergarten-to-grade-12-students

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Talk to the Schools International Admissions Officer.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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3 hours ago, AlbertanAmerican said:

So after reading through the comments here is some new information: my sister is 12 years old and I may be able to get the bio parents' permission to bring her to the US. I think the best way may be through a student visa and host her at our house while she is going to school. Looks like there are a lot of private schools in my area (particularly Christian which may appease the parents). If I were to set her up for starting school in August or September, how would I go about getting her a student visa? Can she look at schools first by coming here to visit in the spring, go back to get her visa, and then return before school starts?

Student visas are non-immigrant and all student visa applicants need to prove they will return home after they're done with their education. But none of this is viable anyways unless you know for sure her bio-parents will give permission.

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