You have fulfilled your dream of achieving residency in the United States. Now you seek to share your dream with your children by having them come live in this country as well. U.S. immigration law provides ways you could make this happen. However, it will depend on your residency status.
Your children will need visas for U.S. residency. As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website explains, whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident will matter whether you can petition to have your children acquire visas for permanent residency status.
Petitioning as a citizen
If you have U.S. citizenship, you may petition for your children regardless of their age and marital status. In the event you have married children, you may include their spouses on your petition. Furthermore, if your children have their own children, you may also petition for them to come to the United States.
Petitioning as a permanent resident
You might not have become a U.S. citizen just yet. Currently, you are in the country as a permanent resident through a green card. If this is the case, the government limits your option to petition for your children. You may still petition for a child of any age, but your children must not be currently married to qualify.
Still, U.S. immigration law does allow you to petition for grandchildren. In the event you have an unmarried adult child with one or more children, you may include your children’s children on the petition.
Other requirements for your child
Make certain that your child fits the definition of a child provided by U.S. immigration services. U.S. law defines children for the purposes of immigration as anyone born in or out of wedlock or a child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology, provided the proper jurisdiction recognizes the child as your own.
The law also recognizes adopted children and stepchildren under certain conditions. Your step-relationship must have begun before your stepchild became 18 years old. If you have adopted, your adopted child should be under 16, although your child may be 18 if you meet requirements under the U.S. family-based petition process. Carefully examine these qualifications to know if you can petition your loved ones for permanent U.S. residency.