It is common for people with children who are US citizens, living outside or undocumented in the United States, to ask if it is possible to acquire permanent residency in the country. Although it is not impossible, there are a few factors that can affect your eligibility to receive a green card.
If you’re hoping for permanent residency in the US, here are some situations that can improve your chances of obtaining a green card through your child:
1. Your Child Must Be At Least 21 Years Old
For your child to legally file a family petition for a green card, they must be at least 21 years old. You must prove your family relations through legal documents, such as their birth certificate.
Once the family petition is approved, immigration offices will schedule an appointment to interview you. The interview can be conducted in the US if you’re currently in the country. They will check if you have criminal records and will examine your immigration record.
For undocumented persons in the USA, there might be complications in the process. Before you start the whole process, you must consult an experienced US immigration lawyer.
2. You’re a Step-Parent or Adoptive Parent
If you’re an adoptive parent or step-parent, your US citizen child can possibly help you get permanent residency. However, there are also considerations whether you are eligible or not.
For step-parents, the whole marriage and step-parent dynamic must have happened before the child turned 18 years old.
For adoptive parents, you and your US citizen child must have lived or been living in the same household for at least two years. Moreover, you must have completed the adoption process before your child turned sixteen years.
3. Your Child is a Victim of Domestic Abuse or Any Violent Crime
If your child has been the victim of domestic abuse or any violent crime within the country, even if they’re not a U.S. citizen, you are qualified to apply for a U-visa, which protects the parents of children and the children that are victims of a violent crime or domestic abuse.
Once it is proven that your child has been a victim, you can contact an immigration attorney. Consult them if you are eligible to get permanent residency.
4. Your Child Suffers From a Severe Health Condition
Even if you’re living undocumented in the country, you can still qualify for a green card, either affirmatively or defensively. You are only eligible to apply for your green card defensively if you’re already in the process of deportation with the Immigration Court. Cancellation of removal has three requirements. First, you should have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years before surrendering; second, you should have no criminal record, and lastly, if leaving the country would cause more risk and hardship for your child.
For those that haven’t surrendered themselves to the court, it might be too risky. You can possibly be deported from the country and won’t be protected from deportation processes. There is no assurance that you won’t be arrested or deported back to your country.
The Bottom Line
Applying for permanent residency is a very long process. There are a lot of requirements and considerations. For parents living unlawfully in the country, it would be harder and riskier. There is no assurance that you’re safe from deportation or from being arrested, despite the circumstances above.
No matter what kind of approach you’re using to apply for a green card, you will always need the help of an immigration attorney. Here at the San Diego Immigration Law Office, we can provide the immigration services that our clients need. So if you need help with your citizenship application, get in touch with us today.