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Family-based immigration and stepchildren

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2022 | Family Immigration |

Whether you are your children’s biological parent or not, you love them and want them to join you in the United States. Blood relations do not affect your parent-child relationship. But whether they are your natural-born kids or stepchildren matters as far as U.S. immigration is concerned.

Fortunately, it is possible for a U.S. citizen or person with permanent resident status (green card) to sponsor a stepchild for immigration. The process is only a little more complicated.

You can sponsor your stepson or -daughter as long as you got married to their biological parent before the child turned 18. The process starts with filing Form I-130, Petition For Alien Relative on their behalf with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Your stepchild (or an adult helping them) will also need to fill out an immigration form. The form they must use depends on whether they are currently in the U.S. or living abroad.

What about adoption?

You do not have to adopt your stepchild in order to sponsor them for a green card. Also, adopting them does not, by itself, automatically grant them green card status. The two of you will go through the same process whether you have already adopted them or are in the process of doing so. However, once your stepchild has acquired green card status, they can later obtain citizenship through having at least one parent who is a citizen. So if you are a citizen, adopting your stepchild can have a legal advantage.

Reuniting your family in Rockville or elsewhere in the Washington D.C. area is possible. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can make the process faster, easier and more predictable.