To promote family unity, the US allows families and US citizens to sponsor children for US permanent residency. There are many requirements to meet in order to get a green card for family members.If you want to bring your children to the US, these requirements apply as follows:
1) Children under the age of majority. Children who are under the age of 21 and are the children of US citizens can submit a green card application. Minor children are considered “immediate relatives” and this means that they do not need to wait until a visa is available in order to get their green card.
2) Older children. Children who are over the age of 21 but are children of US citizens qualify to get a green card. However, these applicants are listed under the first preference category. This means that once the child’s green card application is approved, the child must still wait until a visa becomes available.
3) Adopted children. If the child was officially adopted before the child was 16 years old, the child may apply for a green card as an immediate relative. However, to qualify, the parents must maintain legal custody of the adopted child for two years prior to or after the adoption and the child must live with the adoptive parents for two years prior to or after the adoption.
4) Step-children. Step-children of US citizens qualify for a green card as immediate family, provided that the marriage took place before the step-child turned 18.
Submitting a green card for children application will depend on where the child lives at the time of application. If the child is already living legally in the US, the US parent can file an application for green card and a change of status application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the same time. As soon as the application is approved, the child’s status will be adjusted to permanent residency. If the child lives outside the US at the time of the application, the US citizen parent will need to file an immigration petition with the USCIS .
The USCIS will work with a consulate in the country of residence of the child. If the child is over the age of majority or married at the time of the application, the process can take longer because a visa must first become available. In either case, the forms in a series known as “packet 3” must be completed in full and the child will need to visit a US consulate in their home country to apply for a visa. Once the child enters the US with the visa, he or she is considered a US permanent resident and may then live and work in the US on a permanent basis.