Child of U.S. Citizen
Children of U.S. citizens are often eligible to enter the United States and obtain permanent residency and a green card. Unfortunately, in certain circumstances the process for obtaining permanent residency is considerably lengthy. Please find the child category most applicable to your situation to find more general information about obtaining permanent residency as a child of a U.S. Citizen.
Child of U.S. Citizen Who is:
Under the Age of 21 and Unmarried:
Children of U.S. Citizens who are under the age of 21 and who are unmarried are in the most advantageous position to obtain permanent residency when compared to the other categories of children. To complete the process, children of this category must demonstrate their familial relationship with a U.S. Citizen parent and that they entered the United States lawfully. In the interest of uniting families, children of this category may be able to obtain permanent residency despite having indiscretions that would otherwise bar them from obtaining permanent residency (i.e. unauthorized work and being in the United States without authorization). Once a child has successfully demonstrated that he or she falls into this category, the child can immediately adjust status, obtain a green card, and gain permanent residency.
Over the Age of 21 and Unmarried:
Adult children of U.S. Citizen who are unmarried are able to obtain permanent residency. The process, however, takes longer to complete than the process for children under the age of 21 and unmarried. Adult children in this category must first demonstrate their familial relationship with a U.S. Citizen parent. Once the adult child has demonstrated the familial relationship, the child must wait until a visa becomes available to enter into the United States. Unmarried, adult children of a U.S. Citizen make up the first preference category for family-based immigration. To see where the first preference category currently is, please visit the Department of State’s Current Visa Bulletin.
Once a visa becomes available, the adult child will receive notification and can begin the process to become a permanent resident.
Married Child of U.S. Citizen:
A married child of a U.S. Citizen can also obtain permanent residency in the United States. Unfortunately, the process often takes much longer to complete compared to other categories for children of U.S. Citizens. The child must demonstrate their familial relationship with a U.S. Citizen parent. Once the relationship is established, the child must wait until a visa becomes available to enter into the United States. Married children of a U.S. Citizen make up the third preference category for family-based immigration. To see where the third preference category currently is, please visit the Department of State’s Current Visa Bulletin.
Citizenship: After five years of permanent residency, a green card holder may be eligible to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.
Work Authorization: After obtaining permanent residency, the child of a U.S. Citizen may become authorized to work in the United States.
Travel Abroad: After obtaining permanent residency, a child of a U.S. Citizen may be able to freely travel abroad. However, care must be taken to ensure that the permanent resident does not “abandon” his or her permanent residency by staying abroad for a significant amount of time.
For more information, please visit the USCIS website. If you are a child of a U.S. citizen, please contact Gafner Law Firm to learn whether you are eligible for permanent residency.