Other close family member of U.S. citizen: Married Child
U.S. citizens can enjoy the benefit of sponsoring their married children for U.S. permanent residence (a green card). To qualify for this benefit, the child must be both married and the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen. Importantly, a step-son or daughter can also qualify as a child for the purposes of immigration benefits, if the marriage that created the step-parent/step-child relationship was finalized before the child’s 18th birthday. Moreover, an adopted child will also qualify as long as the U.S. citizen adopted the child before the child’s 16th birthday, the U.S. citizen has had legal custody of the adopted for at least two years, and the child has lived with the U.S. citizen for at least two years. (The two-year legal custody and residence requirements can be met before or after the adoption).
There are two ways that a U.S. citizen’s married child may apply for U.S. permanent residence. The first way is called consular processing. Consular processing is the appropriate option for when the child is outside of the United States. It requires the U.S. citizen to file a Form I-130 Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once USCIS approves the I-130 Petition, the child can then obtain the immigrant visa from the U.S. consulate. The child uses the visa to enter the U.S. as a permanent resident and USCIS will mail the child the green card in a few weeks.
The second way is called Adjustment of Status (AOS). AOS is appropriate if the child is currently residing in the United States. To complete this process, the U.S. citizen also files the I-130 Petition with USCIS, but must file the Form I-485 Application with USCIS as well. The I-485 Application is the actual green card application. Once both applications are approved, USCIS will mail the green card to the child.
The I-130 Petition must include evidence of the parent/child relationship which typically consists of the child’s birth certificate that lists the U.S. citizen as the child’s parent. In the case of adopted children, the adoption certificate should be included and for step-children, the marriage certificate should be submitted. The petition must also include the child’s marriage certificate to prove that he/she is married.
The I-485 Application also requires supporting evidence, such as passport-style photos and a copy of the child’s passport. Additionally, the application must include proof that the child made a legal entry into the United States. If the child did not make a legal entry, other applications will likely need to be filed in order for the child to become a lawful permanent resident.
One of the great benefits of this family-based immigration category is that the married child can bring his/her spouse and their own children with them to the U.S. as derivative beneficiaries of the original green card petition.
At the Callan Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys are highly experienced in filing successful I-130 Petitions every year. Contact our office today to begin the process of sponsoring your child for immigration benefits!