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How To Petition a Green Card for Your Child Abroad

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If you are a US Citizen Parent you can petition for your Child, under the Immediate Relative Category, if your Child is under the age of 21 and unmarried, to live in the United States and become a lawful permanent resident (LPR or Green Card holder).

If the Child is abroad, The US citizen Parent will file first Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the USCIS. At this stage, the Parent will need to prove that the beneficiary Child is in fact his or her Child. The best evidence is to establish continuing relationship between the Parent and Child, because the purpose of family-based petitions is to reunite the family.

The following are documents necessary to establish parent-child relationship:

  • Parent’s proof of citizenship (birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Photos
  • Passport-style photos
  • Note that, if the Petitioner is the Father, he will need to prove legitimation, bona fide parent-child relationship, and that a continuing relationship with the Child exists, for example child support. Additional documents will include, such as: Child’s birth certificate showing both parents’ name, or marriage certificate to the Child’s Mother, or Parents’ divorce certificate, if applicable.
  • If the Petitioner is the Mother, the Child’s birth certificate will be sufficient, along with evidence of continuing relationship with the Child.
  • Translation is necessary for any documents not in English

Once the USCIS approves the merit of the petition, they will transfer the case to the National Visa Center (NVC) before Consular processing. The NVC is a center part of the US Department of State that gathers and pre-screens all the documentation necessary for the Consulate interview. At this stage, the beneficiary child will need to fill out the DS-260, immigrant visa electronic application, submit any additional supporting documents, Affidavit of Support, payment of fees.

Once the NVC schedules a Consulate interview, the beneficiary Child will need to schedule a Medical Exam by an authorized physician in the country where the interview will be conducted. The Medical Exam will be an additional document necessary for the Consulate interview.

At the Consulate interview, the Child beneficiary will bring all the supporting documents. Once the case is approved, the Child will receive an immigrant visa in the passport to travel to the United States.

Please note that other requirements may apply if the Child is adopted or born out of wedlock. If you have any questions about Family-Based Petitions, please do not hesitate to contact me at bsquires@drummondadvisors.com


Written by Bruna Squires, associate at Drummond Advisors