USA and the UK
Green Cards Through a Child Born in the USA
Adult children with parents living outside of the USA can sponsor their parents to reenter the USA and live there permanently.
Parents of a child born in the USA can apply for a Green Card if their child is 21 years old or over and they plan to live in the USA on a permanent basis. If they spend the majority of their time overseas then they could be refused a Green Card.
In addition, individuals who have lived in the USA as an illegal immigrant for at least six months cannot get a Green Card through their child. However, there are exceptions to this if it can be proved the US-born child would ensure “extreme hardship” if their parent’s application was rejected.
- Green Cards Through a Child Born in the USA
- What is the Green Card Application Process For Parents Of a Child Born in the USA?
- What Supporting Documents are Required For a Green Card Application Through a Child Born in the USA?
- What is the Cost and Processing Time of a Green Card Application For the Parent Of a Child Born in the USA to Foreign Parents?
- Myths About Getting a Green Card Through Your Child
- Why are Green Card Applications Denied and What is the Appeals Process?
- How can IAS Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Green Card Application Process For Parents Of a Child Born in the USA?
The most efficient way to apply for a Green Card as the parent of a US-born child is to file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) whilst your child submits Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
This is only applicable to people living in the USA on a different visa at the time of application. Form I-485 serves to adjust the immigration status of individuals who already have the right to live and work in the USA.
Some people choose to submit Form I-485 when the application for Form I-130 has been successful. The timeframe in which you must submit your forms is not fixed, but submitting both together could speed up the process.
Applicants living outside of the USA can apply for a Green Card at a U.S. Department of State consulate in their country of residence. They must also file Forms I-130 and I-485, but the former has to be approved before the latter application can be pursued.
The required documents for Form I-130 are:
- Birth certificate of parent
- Marriage certificate of parent
- Foreign passport of parent
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship (e.g., birth certificate, passport, or naturalization certificate)
- Professional translations of any non-English documents
Form I-485 requires the submission of:
- Two passport-style photographs
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of government-issued identity document with photograph
- Documentation of immigrant category
- Inspection and admission/inspection and parole documentation
There are also additional documents that are only required for Form I-485 in certain circumstances:
- Form I-601 (Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility)
- Form I-508 (Waiver of Diplomatic Rights, Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities)
- Criminal record
- Form I-612 for J-1 and J-2 visa holders
- Form I-212 (Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States After Deportation or Removal)
- Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support)
- Form I-485 Supplement A, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245
- Form I-566 (Interagency Record of Request)
If you are unclear about which form should be completed then you may wish to contact an immigration expert for assistance.
Cost and Processing Time of a Green Card Application
It can take around 12 months for a Green Card application to be approved. However, processing times can vary from case to case and waiting times could be longer than a year.
Form I-130 costs $535 to submit, and this fee is non-refundable.
The fee for Form I-485 varies according to the applicant’s age. People aged between 14-78 must pay $1,140 for the form fee and $85 for the biometrics appointment. Over-79s are charged $1,140 for the form and the biometrics cost is waived.
Individuals who were admitted to the USA as a refugee do not have to pay for the Green Card application process.
Myths About Getting a Green Card Through Your Child
Green Card holders have different rights and privileges to US citizens, but they are still Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) with a right to live and work in the USA.
However, there is often confusion about what having a Green Card means and what the holder’s rights are.
Concerns about Green Cards and their impact on immigration and citizenship include:
- Retaining current passport – People who obtain a Green Card through their child do not have to give up their passport they have from their home country. Their citizenship does not change; it is their immigration status that changes.
- US Citizenship eligibility – No one is automatically eligible for US citizenship after obtaining a Green Card. People with US citizen children must wait 5 years after receiving their Green Card before they can apply for naturalization.
- Deportation – obtaining a Green Card via a child does not automatically protect against deportation. Green Card holders can be deported from the US due to criminal activity. This is usually crimes of moral turpitude (offenses that harm individuals or property), though it is a possible consequence of committing any crime.
Reasons for Rejection
Green Card applications by someone with a child born in the USA could be rejected for various reasons, including:
- The applicant is not related to the sponsor
- USCIS deems the applicant a threat to national security
- The criminal record of the applicant involves crimes of moral turpitude
- The applicant has not attended their biometrics appointment
- The applicant did not pass the medical exam
- The Green Card application contained errors (e.g., missing documentation)
The appropriate response to a Green Card denial depends on the reason for rejection. If there is new evidence that could change an application, the applicant can file a motion to reopen. If an error was made in the application, filing a motion to reconsider would be advisable.
Appealing the rejection to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) would be suitable in the event that the application was rejected due to an error on the part of USCIS. However, appeals are not always permitted. The letter of rejection will explain whether an appeal is possible for an applicant.
Another strategy is to request reconsideration from a judge by resubmitting Form I-485 in order to obtain a Notice to Appear. Applicants must have a strong case to make in court, otherwise they may be removed from the USA.
Finally, if an applicant believes they could submit a higher quality application, they can simply refile Form I-485, preferably with the help of an immigration lawyer.
There is plenty of information out there about how to apply for a Green Card, but obtaining a Green Card through a child is a more complex process.
Our lawyers are educated in all aspects of US immigration, so they can identify eligible candidates, recommend alternative immigrant visa routes, and answer any questions about the long-term impact of possessing a Green Card through a US-born child.
Last modified on May 22nd, 2023 at 3:51 am
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Yes, both parents can be sponsored, but the adult child must submit a separate application form for each parent.
No, they cannot. According to US immigration law, all sponsors must be citizens of the USA.
You can certainly apply for naturalization if your child was born in the USA. First, you would need to apply for a Green Card through your child, and then pursue the citizenship process.
If you give birth in the USA, your child will automatically be a US citizen, so they will never have to apply for citizenship. This also means there is a clear path to citizenship for you as a parent, as you would be able to get naturalization after holding a Green Card for 5 years.
That being said, if it is suspected that an individual has applied for a US Visa simply to be able to give birth in the country, their birth will be classed as illegal.