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The Green Card Application for a Child of U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

           

1. Children as Close Family Members of U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident

As a U.S. citizen, you can submit an immigration application if you have a close family relation, and you can sponsor the following family members:

  • Husband or wife;

  • Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen;

  • Brother or sister (including half-brothers and half-sisters);

  • Son or daughter (including illegitimate children);

  • Stepson or stepdaughter;

  • Stepparent of a U.S. citizen child;

  • Adopted son or daughter;

  • Adopted parent;

  • Father or mother;

  • Battered or abused spouse or child.

As a U.S. legal permanent resident, you can submit an immigration application for:

  • Spouse; 

  • A child (unmarried and under 21 years of age); 

  • An unmarried son or daughter (over 21 years of age). 

The "immediate relatives" of a U.S. citizen, including parents, spouses, widows, and children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age, can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any visa numerical restrictions. They can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time. 

The rest of the beneficiaries are divided into several groups called "preferences." Each preference is given a numerical quota per year to limit the number of immigrants admitted into the United States. Generally, the higher the preference, the quicker the alien will be eligible to receive a Green Card. The relatives in preference categories must wait for a visa to become available according to the following preferences:

  • First preference: Unmarried Children over 21 year of age of U.S. Citizens (23,400 per year, plus unused visas from the Fourth Preference);

  • Second Preference: Spouses and unmarried children (regardless of age) of U.S. permanent residents (114,000 per year, plus unused visas from the First Preference);

  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, including their spouses and their minor children. (23,400 per year, plus unused visas from the First and Second Preferences);

  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, including their spouses and their minor children. (65,000 per year, plus unused visas from the First, Second, and Third Preferences).

2. Children as Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizen

Unmarried children under 21 year old of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for permanent resident status as immediate relatives. Immediate relatives may immigrate to the United States on a family based petition. This is the most attractive category, since there is no limitation to the number of immigrants who may qualify under this category and, in most cases, visa numbers are immediately available for these individuals to apply for lawful permanent residence. Immediate relatives include spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens. 

For immediate relative to qualify as a "child" of a U.S. citizen, the person must be the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, and the immigration law defines a “child” as an unmarried person under the age of 21 (a minor) who is: 

  • A child born to parents who are married to each other (born in wedlock);

  • A stepchild if the marriage creating the step relationship took place before the child reached the age of 18;

  • A child born out of wedlock (the parents were not married at the time the child was born). If the father is filing the petition, the proof of a real and established relationship with the father must be supplied;

  • An adopted child if the child was adopted before the age of 16, and has lived with the adoptive parents in their legal custody for at least two years;

  • An orphan under the age of 16 when an adoptive or prospective adoptive parent files a visa petition on his or her behalf, who has been adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen or is coming to the U.S. for adoption by a U.S. citizen, or

  • A child adopted who is under the age of 18 and the natural sibling of an orphan or adopted child under the age of 16, if adopted with or after the sibling. The child must also otherwise fit the definition of orphan or adopted child.

3. The Distinction for "First Preference of Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens" and a Child of an "Immediate Relative of a U.S. Citizen"

The only distinction in eligibility between a child in "First Preference of unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens" and a child of an "immediate relative of a U.S. citizen" is that the child in the First Preference is over 21 years old.  That means to qualify as a "child" in this category (First Preference), the person must be the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, who is unmarried and over the age of 21. 

An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child's 16th birthday, the adoptive parents have legal custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption), and the child resides with the adoptive parents for two years (before or after the adoption). A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild's 18th birthday.

Immediate family members of the married child may also apply for a Green Card. The annual visa allotment available for this Third Preference is 23,400, plus any visas not used by the fourth preference. Please see "Visa Bulletin" for the latest information on usage of the visa quota. 

4. The Eligibility to Sponsor a Child to Immigrate to the United States

The immigration beneficiaries are strictly defined, and one has to meet the definition of its category at the time that the application of adjustment of status is approved. Those who do not meet the definitions cannot immigrate to the United States through family based immigration.

To be eligible to sponsor a child to immigrate to the United States, a parent must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States, and be able to provide documentation to prove your status; 

  • You must prove that you can support your relative at 125% above the mandated poverty line.

  • Your can legally prove that you share the child/parent relationships.



 

 

More Articles about Immigration and Green Card Application for Child
Child Immigration, Visa Number, and Required Documents for Relationship
Child Immigration Petition Process and Immigrant Visa Application
The "Age Out" for a Child at Age of 21, and the Child Status Protection Act
The "Following-To-Join" Benefit for Permanent Resident's Child to Get Green Card
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers of Green Card Application for Children
Our Help Desk's Answers for Questions of Green Card Application for Children
Complete Do-It-Yourself Package for U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Child
The Green Card and Immigration Application for Children
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