How Does a Permanent U.S. Resident Bring Their Child to the U.S.?

A permanent resident (holder of a green card) can ask the United States government to allow a child or immediate family member to legally live in the country. This process is known as “family reunification.”

The qualifications for children depend on their age and marital status. Under U.S. immigration laws, different petitions can be filed for:

  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age
  • Your under 21-year-old-children’s children
  • Unmarried children who are over 21 years of age
  • Your over 21-year-old-children’s respective children

What Documents Do You Need To Ask a Child for Family Reunification?

As with other applications for a foreign relative, the legal permanent resident who wishes to sponsor a child must:

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements
  2. Complete a Form I-130 or Alien relative petition
  3. Pay the costs of the request

In addition to the required regular documents, permanent residents must also present proof of their legitimate residence. To do this, you must send a copy (both sides) of your permanent residence card, also known as a “green card” or Form I-551. It is also a good idea to send a copy of your foreign passport with a stamp in which you have been assigned permanent residence in the U.S.A.

Also, it is vital to send proof of the biological relationship with the child. This includes the birth certificate and other additional documentation, depending on the relationship to the child:

  • Biological mother: You do not need additional documentation.
  • Biological father: Copy of the marriage certificate with the biological mother of the child, or proof of dissolution of marriage, or other proof of paternity if there is no marriage.
  • Stepfather or stepmother: Copy of marriage certificate with the biological father or mother of the stepson, or evidence of the dissolution of the marriage.
  • Adoptive parents: Copy of the final adoption resolution and proof that they have had legal and physical custody for two years.

If your child is outside the United States, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). If the application is approved, then the NVC will send your application to the country of origin of your child, specifically to the consulate or embassy closest to the place of residence.

There you must wait until a visa is available in your preferential category as a foreign relative. You can find out more details about how the foreign family petition process works and the different visa categories for the United States.

How To Apply For a Relative Who Already Lives in the United States?

Permanent residents who file a petition for an unmarried child already living in the U.S. can also do so through the Alien Relative Petition (Form I-130).

If the petition is approved, the child can file an application for permanent residence registration or adjustment of status (Form I-485) when an immigrant visa is available.

The processing time depends on the family relationship between the minor and the petitioner and the sponsor’s legal status. But it usually ranges from six to 18 months.

If you need more information, consult the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring children to live in the United States. An immigration attorney can also guide you through the petitioning process for a foreign relative and protect their rights.

Speak to an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today

When it comes to immigration and whether you can live and work where you want, every detail matters. When the slightest paperwork error or missed deadline can mean years of delays, it is essential to do things right the first time. An experienced immigration lawyer can address your particular needs with immigration, and put you in the best position for a positive outcome. Take the first step now and contact a local immigration attorney to discuss your rights and specific situation.

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