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Getting a Green Card For Child

22nd August 2011
By Paul Anderson in Immigration Law
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One of the many advantages of being a US citizen is that you can sponsor your loved ones for a green card to come and live with you in the US. As a US citizen, you may petition your spouse, parents and children for the green card status. Whereas, if you a legal permanent resident (green card holder), you will be able to sponsor only your spouse and unmarried children.

Green Card For Child Application Process

The first step is the "Immigrant Petition" that will establish a qualifying relationship between you, the sponsor and your child abroad followed by the green card application. If your child is in the US, you can file the immigrant petition and green card for child application at the same time. But, if you are a lawful permanent resident, your child must wait for the immigrant petition to be approved before they can file the the green card application.

While sponsoring a green card for child, the first step is to submit Form I-130, the immigrant petition. If your child lives outside the US, the application for an immigrant visa has to be filed at a US consulate which has jurisdiction over your child's place of residence.

If your child/children live in the US, then you file form I-485 through which you can adjust status. If your child lives in the US and is both unmarried and under the age of 21, then you can submit Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time. This is generally the fastest way to apply for a green card. As a legal permanent resident, if your child is married or over 21 or lives outside the US, then you must wait for the Form I-130 to be approved before moving to the next step in the process.

If you are a US citizen, you can also sponsor your married child for a green card. Married sons and daughters of US citizens fall in the third-preference category which means that they must wait for a visa number to become available before they can apply for a visa. In simple terms, married sons and daughters must wait longer than unmarried sons and daughters to apply for a green card. However, note that legal permanent residents may not sponsor their married sons and daughters for a green card.

As a US citizen parent, you can sponsor your unmarried children below the age of 21 as "immediate relatives". They can directly apply for a green card without having to wait for a priority date to become current. Though, as a US citizen, you can sponsor your children who are married or over the age of 21, these children will not qualify as immediate relatives. These applicants will need to wait for their priority date to be current before they are eligible to apply for a green card.

A monthly visa bulletin published by the Department of State tells applicants when their priority date is current. Before applying for a green card, applicants must wait for their priority date to become current.

It is important to remember that if you are bringing a relative to live permanently in the US, you must accept legal responsibility for financially supporting this family member. You accept this responsibility and become your relative's sponsor by completing and signing a document called an affidavit of support. This legally enforceable responsibility lasts until your relative becomes a US citizen or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years.)
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