Bookmark This Site  
  Tel: (800) 321-0627
Fax: (240) 282-7231
Mailing Address:
6303 Owensmouth Ave., 10th FL.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367 USA
 

 

 


Petitioning Procedures: Bringing a Child, Son or Daughter to Live in the United States

This information is for United States (U.S.) citizens and lawful permanent residents who wish to petition for or "sponsor" their child to live permanently in the U.S. Please note that "child" has a specific definition when used in immigration. You can review this definition by going to the USCIS web page, How Do I Bring My Child, Son or Daughter to Live in the United States?

Information for U.S. Citizens
           I am the mother
           I am the father
           I am a stepparent
           I am an adoptive parent

Information for Lawful Permanent Residents
           I am the mother, and the child or son or daughter is unmarried
           I am the father
           I am a stepparent
           I am an adoptive parent
Beneficiaries Who Wish to Bring Children
Forms and Fee Information
After Filing
May I Appeal?
Following-to-Join Benefits

U.S. Citizens

If you are a U.S. citizen applying to bring a child or son or daughter to the United States to live and you are the mother of the child, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your birth certificate or U.S. passport
  • If you were not born in the United States, a copy of either:
    • your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or
    • your U.S. passport
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing your name and the child's name
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted.

If you are a U.S. citizen and the father or stepparent of the child or son or daughter, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your birth certificate or U.S. passport
  • If you were not born in the U.S., a copy of either:
    • your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or
    • your U.S. passport
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing the child's name and the names of both parents
  • A copy of civil marriage certificate showing the names of both parents, or proof that a parent/child relationship exists or existed (if you are petitioning for a stepchild, your marriage to the child's parent must take place before the stepchild's 18th birthday)
  • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that establish the termination of any previous marriages entered into by you or your spouse
  • Fathers petitioning for a child born out of wedlock must provide evidence that a parent/child relationship exists or existed. For example, the child's birth certificate displaying the father's name, evidence showing that the father and child at some point lived together, or that the father held out the child as his own, or that he has made financial contributions in support of the child, or that in general his behavior evidenced genuine concern for and interest in the child. A blood test proving paternity may also be necessary.
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted.

If you are a U.S. citizen and the adoptive parent of a child or son or daughter who lived with you in your legal custody for two years while a child, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your birth certificate or U.S. passport
  • If you were not born in the U.S., a copy of either:
    • your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or
    • your U.S. passport
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing the child's name
  • A certified copy of the adoption decree (the adoption must have taken place before the child reached the age of 16, with only one exception: if you adopted the child's sibling who had not yet reached age 16, the older sibling must have been adopted before reaching the age of 18)
  • The legal custody decree if you obtained custody of the child before adoption
  • A statement showing the dates and places your child has lived with you, and proof that your child has lived with you and has been in your legal custody for at least two years
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted.

Orphans
In each case, if the child is in the U.S. and unmarried and under 21 years of age, he or she may file a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status concurrently with your petition. For information on how to file this application, please refer to How Do I Become a Lawful Permanent Resident While In the United States?

For more information, you may also refer to How Do I Apply to Bring a Foreign-Born Orphan into the U.S.?

Lawful Permanent Residents
If you are a lawful permanent resident applying to bring an unmarried, minor child or an unmarried son or daughter to the United States to live and you are the mother of the child, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your alien registration card
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing your name and the child's name
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted.

If you are a lawful permanent resident and the father or stepparent of the child, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your alien registration receipt card
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing the child's name and the names of both parents
  • A copy of civil marriage certificate showing the names of both parents, or proof that a parent/child relationship exists or existed (if you are petitioning for a stepchild, your marriage to the child's parent must take place before the stepchild's 18th birthday)
  • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that establish the termination of any previous marriages entered into by you or your spouse
  • Fathers petitioning for a child born out of wedlock must provide evidence that a parent/child relationship exists or existed. For example, the child's birth certificate displaying the father's name, evidence showing that the father has made financial contributions in support of the child. A blood test proving paternity may be necessary.
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted

If you are a lawful permanent resident and the adoptive parent of the child or unmarried son or daughter, you must file the following with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
  • A copy of your alien registration receipt card
  • A copy of the child's birth certificate showing the child's name
  • A certified copy of the adoption decree (The adoption must have taken place before the child reached the age of 16. One exception: if you adopted the child's sibling who had not yet reached age 16, the older sibling must have been adopted before reaching the age of 18.)
  • The legal custody decree if you obtained custody of the child before adoption
  • A statement showing the dates and places your child has lived with you, and proof that your child has lived with you and has been in your legal custody for at least two years
  • If anyone's name has been legally changed (if it differs from the name on his or her birth certificate), evidence of the name change must be submitted.

Beneficiaries Who Wish to Bring Children
How do I bring my children to the U.S. if I am the beneficiary of the petition? If your U.S. citizen parent, brother or sister is petitioning for you on Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and you are married, your spouse and/or children do not require a separate visa petition. If you are unmarried and 21 years of age or older, your children do not require a separate visa petition. In both cases, your spouse and/or children will be included in the visa petition your immediate relative is filing for you. If you are unmarried and under 21 years of age, you will need to file a petition for your children once you obtain lawful permanent resident status. See Following-to-Join Benefits.

Forms and Fee Information
Forms and fee information can be found on our Forms and Fees page. You may also go directly to a form by clicking on the form number where it is underlined on this page. For information on where to file, see the I-130 form entry page. You may also obtain forms from the USCIS Forms Center by calling 1-800-870-3676.

After Filing the Petition
You will be notified by the USCIS if your I-130 petition is approved or denied. If it is approved, your child, son or daughter will be notified by the Department of State when a visa number, if necessary, is available. If your child, son or daughter is outside the country, he or she (or the adult acting for him or her) must then go to the local U.S. consulate to complete visa processing. If your child, son or daughter is legally inside the United States when a visa number, if necessary, becomes available, he or she may then apply to adjust to Permanent Resident status. For more information on immigrant visa numbers for your child, son or daughter, you may refer to How Do I Get an Immigrant Visa Number? For more information on your child, son or daughter adjusting to lawful permanent residence, you may refer to How Do I Become a Lawful Permanent Resident While in the United States?

May I Appeal?
If the Form I-130 visa petition you filed for your child, son or daughter is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal, along with where and when you must file the appeal. After your appeal form and the required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals. For more information, please see How Do I Appeal the Denial of My Petition or Application?

Following-to-Join Benefits
Please note: This section is only applicable to lawful permanent residents who did not gain their LPR status as the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.
If you had children before you became a lawful permanent resident, and your children did not physically accompany you to the United States, and you would now like your children to join you in the United States, your children may be eligible for following-to-join benefits. This means that you do not have to submit a separate Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for your children, and your children will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. In this case, you can simply notify a U.S. consulate that you are a lawful permanent resident so that your children can apply for immigrant visas. If, however, you immigrated to the U.S. as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen who did not or could not petition for your children, you will need to file a separate I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. In this case, see How Do I Bring My Child, Son or Daughter to Live in the U.S.?

Your children may be eligible for following-to-join benefits if:

  • You immigrated on the basis of a fiancÚ(e) petition
  • You immigrated on the basis of a diversity immigrant application
  • You immigrated on the basis of an employment-based petition
  • You immigrated on the basis of a petition filed by your brother or sister
  • You immigrated on the basis of an immigrant petition filed by your U.S. citizen parent(s) when you were married or when you were unmarried and over 21 years of age
  • You immigrated on the basis of your relationship with your lawful permanent resident parents when you were unmarried

Also, for your child to be eligible for following-to-join benefits, he or she must:

  • Be unmarried and
  • Be under 21 years of age and
  • Have been a child from a marriage of yours (the marriage must have existed at the time of your admission to the U.S.) or
  • Have been a stepchild from a marriage of yours (the marriage must have existed at the time of your admission to the U.S.) or
  • Have been legally adopted prior to your admission to the U.S., and otherwise qualify as an adopted child under the immigration law.

For information on following-to-join benefits for spouses of lawful permanent residents, please see Petitioning Procedures: Bringing a Spouse to Live in the United States.

If you fall into one of the categories above, please submit the following information to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition
  • A copy of the original application or petition that you used to apply for your immigrant status
  • A copy of the I-797 Notice of Action for your original application or petition
  • A copy of your alien registration receipt card or I-551
  • Proof that the child meets the appropriate criteria for Following-to-Join Benefits

You should file the I-824 at the USCIS office that took the most recent action on your case.

If the I-824 is approved, the USCIS will notify a U.S. consulate that you are now a lawful permanent resident so that your children can apply for immigrant visas. You must then ask your children to report to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing.

 
Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, e-mail, articles or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience or read our biography here. Search for Nursing Jobs or H-2B Visa Jobs in the US. Please read our privacy notice and general disclaimer.