Can Minor U.S. Citizen Children Sponsor their Parents?

Children born in the U.S. can sponsor their parents for green card status. However, the child has to turn 21 to file an immigrant petition for his or her parents. At the same time, the child’s parents will need to meet all the requirements to get a green card in the U.S.

Immigrants, who give birth to children in the U.S., believe that their children will immediately be able to sponsor them for permanent residence. This is not true. Immigrant parents of U.S. born children will need to wait until their children turn 21 to get a chance to get green cards in the U.S. Until then, they must maintain their immigrant status.

The term “anchor baby” refers to a child born to undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Many illegally cross the border and get into the U.S. just to give birth to their children on U.S. soil, believing that they can get green cards through their U.S. born children. This is not true. U.S. citizens cannot file immigrant petitions for their undocumented parents until they turn 21.

In some cases, if children born on U.S. soil wish to sponsor their undocumented parents for legal status, their parents may be required to wait. This is because, they must return to their home countries and remain there until they meet the requirements. Once they meet the requirements, their U.S. citizen children will be able to file immigrant petitions for them. After the petitions are approved and after they are issued immigrant visas, they may travel back to the U.S.

In some cases, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens may be allowed to apply for cancellation of removal, if they meet certain requirements. People held by immigration authorities for living here illegally can apply for cancellation of removal if the immigration authorities seek to deport them. In this case, they can apply for legal status without returning to their home countries, with the help of their children’s citizenship.