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Green Card Application for
U.S.
Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Son or Daughter

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

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.

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.
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The Child Immigration Categories, Visa Number, and Required Documents for Child/ Parent Relationship

The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the immigration application filed for them is approved by USCIS. This means there is no immigration visa quota allowed under the immediate relative category for USA Green Card application, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

If you are a U.S. citizen and your child is under the age 21 who is in U.S. already, then you can file the USCIS Form I-130 and Form I-485 for adjustment of status at the same time, without the Form I-130 approval notice. If the child is already in the United States in a nonimmigrant status, the U.S. citizen may only file an immigration petition (I-130) for the alien child. The child has to wait for the immigrant visa number to become current before he or she may apply to adjust to permanent resident (Form I-485). During this waiting period, the child needs to independently maintain a valid nonimmigrant status.

If the child is outside the United States, the U.S. citizen needs to file an immigration petition and request that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS ) notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where the child lives. Once the immigration petition is approved and an immigrant visa is available, the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department sends a forms and information package, "Packet 3", to the U.S. citizen. After the necessary forms are completed, the child goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa. On the day that the child enters the United States on an immigrant visa, he or she becomes a U.S. permanent resident.
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The Child Immigration Petition Process and Immigrant Visa Application

There are two scenarios for children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents to apply for immigration petition.The first scenario is that the child is already in the United States in a nonimmigrant status. In this case, the U.S. citizen or permanent residents may file an immigration petition for the alien child. The child has to wait for the immigrant visa number to become current before he or she may apply to adjust to permanent resident (if not unmarried children under 21 year of age of U.S. citizens). During this waiting period, the child needs to independently maintain a valid nonimmigrant status.

The second scenario is that the child is outside the United States. In this case, the U.S. citizen or permanent residents needs to file an immigration petition and request that the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where the child lives. Once the immigration petition is approved and an immigrant visa is available, the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department sends a forms and information package to the U.S. citizen or permanent residents. After the necessary forms are completed, the child goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa.

As a U.S. citizen parent, you should also be prepared to prove that you meet the income requirement of a sponsor. When your child has been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview with a consular officer overseas, or when your child is about to submit an application for adjustment to permanent resident (Form I-485), you will need to complete an I-864 Affidavit of Support.

For a immediate relative of U.S. citizen, a child who is unmarried and under the age of 21 can get immigrant visa without waiting time. The first step in applying for an immigrant visa is for the U.S. citizen or permanent resident (petitioner) to file an immigrant visa petition with a Service Center of USCIS. Each person immigrating will be required to complete a biographic data form. The appointment for the visa interview and medical examination will be scheduled.
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The "Age Out" for a Child Applicant Attained the Age of 21 and the Child Status Protection Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a “child” as an unmarried individual under 21 years of age. Children are generally eligible for a derivative status until 21 years of age. For example, a child with parents on H-1 status may remain in H-4 status until age 21. For these individuals, 21 is a more significant age than 18. For most nonimmigrant statuses, the end point for children is 21.

At that time, if the child wishes to remain in the U.S., she or he must secure and maintain his or her own status. This matter should be addressed well in advance of the 21st birthday, in order to plan ahead and take any needed action. The "age out" arises in some situations where children applicants apply for adjustment of status, consular processing, or naturalization. In many instances, alien children are eligible for immigration benefits if they are the children of U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or the children of a beneficiary to an immigrant petition. Under the immigration laws, a child is defined as an unmarried person under the age of 21.

In these situations, if children applicants or beneficiaries reach the age of 21 and the applications for adjustment of status or applications for immigration visa are still pending, they lose their eligibility for a Green Card which they would have had, had they not yet attained the age of 21. Thus, children who turn 21 years old before their applications for adjustment of status or applications for immigration visa are decided are "age out". As a result, they may not enjoy immigration benefits they originally petitioned for while they were still minors.

If a person filing for Green Card application is 21 or less and unmarried, he or she will be able to file as a child. However, if the child’s parents are legal permanent residents, not U.S. citizens, there is the danger of “aging out.” Even after the papers are filed for permanent residency, it can take many months or even years to officially register the adjustment of status. In the meantime, the person could turn 21, and no longer qualify as a child, thus “age out.” Now, he or she must start all over again to file as an adult.  
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The "Following-To-Join" Benefit for Permanent Resident's Child to Get U.S. Green Card

U.S. permanent resident who married before the date of obtaining the U.S. permanent residency can possibly confer “following-to-join” benefits to his or her family members (husband, wife, and child). Essentially, through this process, spouses and children will be able to receive U.S. Green Cards quickly. The following-to-join is for alien spouse and children to receive derivative benefits based on a primary permanent residency’s immigration application approval.

Certain requirements must be met in order for a child to qualify under “following-to-join”. First, the legal permanent resident must have adjusted status or obtained Green Card through a preference category (family or employment based) or diversity lottery. In addition, an immigrant visa number must also be current in order for a child to receive “following-to-join”.

Second, the Green Card holder married before becoming a permanent resident, and the relationship between the permanent resident and spouse/child is intact at the time of filing. Children of the permanent resident must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Furthermore, the child/step-child must be from an existing marriage before the permanent resident obtained permanent residency.

If you had children who did not obtain permanent residence at the same time as you did, they may be eligible for follow-to-join benefits. This means that you do not have to submit a separate Form I-130 for your children. In addition, your children will not have to wait any extra time for a visa number to become available. In this case, you may simply notify a U.S. consulate that you are a permanent resident so that your children can apply for an immigrant visa. You should also be prepared to prove that you meet the income requirement of a sponsor. Your household income should be sufficient to support your family at 125% or more above the U.S. poverty level for your household size.

If you had children before you obtained a Green Card (became a permanent resident), your children may be eligible to receive following-to-join benefits. This means that you would not have to submit a separate USCIS 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. The relationship should exist at the time you became a permanent resident and still exists.
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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Son or Daughter

Understand the family-based child Green Card petition requirements and necessary evidence from the Frequent Asked Questions, the U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's child Green Card application requirements, immigrant visa procedures and criteria, USCIS visa process and processing, the supporting documents for child immigration, and our Complete Do-It-Yourself Package. => .......... 

Our Help Desk's Answers for Questions of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Son or Daughter

Answers for questions of Green Card application for U.S. citizen's or permanent resident's son or daughter by our Help Desk, including son's or daughter's immigration visa application, Green Card requirements and supporting documents, and other immigration related issues. => ..........

Complete Do-It-Yourself Package for U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Child

To help a U.S. citizen or permanent resident's son or daughter to immigrate to United States, we provide a high quality and case-proven "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's or Permanent Resident's Child."

In this package, we let you know the required application documents, evidence, procedures, samples of petition cover letter, samples of required forms, and application check list. We also provide detailed explanation of the immigrant visa application, interview process, and how to avoid or deal with the "age out" issue for children over age of 21.
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