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Bringing Children of Permanent Residents into the U.S.

A lawful permanent resident (a foreign-born individual with a green card) may petition to bring their child to the United States, depending on the child's age and marital status. Under U.S. immigration law, a "child" is a son or daughter under the age of 21 who is unmarried. This also includes the children of your child. Permanent residents also may petition on behalf of unmarried sons and daughters who are over the age of 21 (as well as their children).

For a more complete overview of this subject, including the requirements for naturalized U.S. citizens, see Bringing a Child to Live in the U.S. Below is supplementary information for permanent residents.

Documentation Requirements

As with any other petition on behalf of an alien relative, the sponsoring permanent resident must fill out Form I-130 and pay the filing fee. In addition to the standard documentation requirements, permanent residents also must present proof of lawful permanent residence. To do so, submit a copy (both front and back) of Form I-551 (most commonly called a "green card") or a copy of your foreign passport with a stamp proving permanent residence in the U.S.

Additionally, you must submit proof of your biological relationship to the child. This includes the child's birth certificate and additional documentation, depending on the relationship:

  • Biological Mother: (no additional documentation)
  • Biological Father: Copy of marriage certificate to child's biological mother (or proof of termination of marriage); other evidence of paternity if there was no marriage
  • Step-Parent: Copy of marriage certificate to stepchild's biological parent (or proof of termination of marriage)
  • Adoptive Parent: Copy of the final adoption decree; evidence that you've had two years of legal custody; evidence that you've had two years of physical custody

You'll also need to submit a significant amount of documentation establishing that you have more than just a biological relationship with your child. A parent that abandoned their child in infancy and did not communicate with them, send money for their support, visit them, or otherwise involve themselves in the child's life may not be permitted to sponsor that child.

Filing on Behalf of Relative Living in the U.S.

Lawful permanent residents petitioning on behalf of a child (unmarried and under the age of 21) or unmarried son or daughter over the age of 21, if living in the U.S., must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130). Your child, son or daughter may file an Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status (Form I-485) when a visa becomes available.

Refer to the USCIS page Bringing Children, Sons and Daughters to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents for more detailed information.

Get Professional Legal Help Bringing Your Children to Live in the U.S.

The immigration process is time consuming and complicated under the best circumstances. Failing to understand the complicated requirements of an immigration process can result in additional delays and expenses, or even loss of eligibility to immigrate altogether. Immigration laws and policies are subject to change as federal governments change hands, so it's important to get help from a professional. Call an immigration law attorney near you today.

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