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