How to Bring a Child to Live in the US (for Citizens)

If you are a US citizen who is planning to bring a child to live in the United States, it is important to take into account the age and the marital status of the child. For the purposes of eligibility, a “child” is any person under the age of 21 years and unmarried. In addition, you can also file a petition on behalf of their sons and daughters over 21 years of age who are unmarried, and their married sons and daughters of any age. You can also include your children.

If you are a legitimate permanent resident (have a green card), please refer to the section “How to bring a child to live in the United States: information for permanent residents.

Documentation requirements

1. Petition for alien relative

Remember to sign the form and attach the filing fee. (Form I-130)

2. Evidence of US citizenship. Send the copy of one of the following documents:

  • Certificate of birth in the United States
  • U.S. passport
  • Consular report of birth abroad
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of citizenship

3. Proof of name change (if applicable). You should be sent a copy of one of the following documents:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Decree of divorce
  • Court ruling on the name change
  • Decree of adoption or other proof, if your name or the name of your child have changed

4. Test of relationship. The requirements of additional documentation vary according to the type of relationship.

Biological mother:

  • Copy of the birth certificate of the child

Biological father:

  • Copy of the birth certificate of the child
  • Copy of the marriage certificate of the father to set the marriage with the biological mother of the child
  • If you are no longer married to the biological mother of the child, evidence of legal termination of marriage
  • Evidence of a parent-child relationship consolidated before the child has reached the age of 21 (or married), in the case of who has never married with the mother of the child, and your child will not be legitimate according to the law

Stepfather/Stepmother:

  • Copy of the birth certificate of the stepchild
  • Copy of the certificate of civil marriage with the mother or the biological father of the stepchild
  • Proof of the legal termination of all previous marriages, both of the stepfather or the stepmother as the mother or the biological father, such as a divorce decree or death certificate

Adoptive parents:

  • Copy of the original birth certificate of the child
  • Copy of the adoption decree
  • Evidence that adoptive parent had two years of legal custody
  • Evidence that adoptive parent had two years of physical custody (i.e. time during which the child lived with the adoptive father, and this he exercised parental control)

Presentation on behalf of a relative who lives in the United States

U.S. citizens who present a petition on behalf of a child living in the United States must file a petition for alien relative (form I-130), while the child must submit an application to register permanent residence or adjust status (form I-485).

In the case of sons or daughters living in the United States and who are married or are over 21 years of age, u.s. citizens must file form I-130, while the son or daughter must file form I-485, as soon as it is available visa.

Presentation on behalf of a family member living outside of the United States

The u.s. citizens that submit an application on behalf of a child, or a son or daughter adults, must file form I-130. Once you approve the petition and the visa is available, the request will be sent to the consulate or to the embassy for further processing.

For more details, see the page “How to bring children, sons or daughters to live in the united States as permanent residents” of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Legal assistance with the Immigration Process

You need to know the steps that involves meticulous preparation for each stage of the immigration process. If you or a loved one are considering live in the United States or become a citizen should contact an experienced immigration lawyer who can guide you at every stage of the process and protect your rights.