Petition For Children: Immigration Lawyer on How to Petition | Eatontown, NJ

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Petition For Children: Immigration Lawyer on How to Petition your Children



  1. Immigration laws are not simply designed to allow one person the opportunity to earn a green card. It recognizes the need to reunite families of those people who have immigrated to the United States. Hence, family members such as spouses or children are given a chance as well to be reunited with their loved ones in the United States.
  1. Hi there! My name is Andres Mejer, Immigration Attorney and an immigrant myself. In today’s episode, I’ll discuss the things you need to learn in petitioning for your child, such as who qualifies, what are the steps, and the documents needed.
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  1. Also, leave a comment down below on YOUR thoughts or ideas about TODAY’s topic, or check out our other videos.


  • Who is eligible?
  • A child of a U.S. citizen who meets either of the following criteria is eligible for a green card:
    • Unmarried under the age of 21
    • Unmarried over the age of 21
    • Married at any age
  • A child of a lawful permanent resident (or green card holder) who satisfies either of the following is eligible for a green card:
    • Unmarried and under the age of 21
    • Married and older than 21 years old
      • NOTE: Children who were divorced, annulled, or a widow/widower can also be eligible.
  • Different classification of the word “child”?
  • There are several meanings of the term “child” under immigration laws related to acquiring a green card. It is critical that you understand which of the classifications your child falls under since this will determine what procedures and paperwork USCIS will ask of you when the visa petition is filed.
  • The following are those considered a ‘child’ in the immigration process:
  1. Child of Married Parents (Born in Wedlock)
    • This classification of a child refers to a legitimate child. When we talk about a legitimate child, this refers to a child who is born to a married couple.
    • In filing for a visa petition, mothers just need to provide a birth certificate with the mother’s and child’s names. The father, on the other hand, must file the I-130 petition to show the relationship. The petition must be accompanied by the two documents listed below:
      • A birth certificate that includes the father’s and child’s names.
      • A marriage certificate that indicates that the mother and father were married before the child’s birth.
  1. Child of Unmarried Parents (Born out of Wedlock)
    • Basically, this would refer to those children who were born to an unmarried couple. What makes this classification complicated is the burden of proving the relationship.
    • In order to prove your relationship with your child, you need to take note of the following:
  • Mother
      • You must present a birth certificate that shows your and your child’s name. Please keep in mind that if your maiden name on the birth certificate is different from your current name, you must produce documentation proving that your name was changed. This is frequent among women who change their names after getting married.
  • Father
    • If you are a father, proving your relationship with your child is even more difficult. You must prove that you are the child’s biological father.
  • The following are the different ways wherein you can prove your relationship:
    • Birth certificate. You can present your child’s birth certificate if your name appears on it as the father. If not, then you go to your local civil registry to get your name added to the birth certificate. Please keep in mind that this must be completed before the child reaches the age of 18.
    • Acknowledgment from other countries. Another thing you can do to prove your relationship is to be recognized as the child’s father in other countries. This might be accomplished through a civil court, civil registry, or a government body. Please keep in mind that this must be completed before the child reaches the age of 18.
    • Blood test and an affidavit from the mother. A blood test can be used to establish paternity. However, it must be accompanied by an affidavit from the mother declaring that you are the child’s true father. However, this does not legitimate the child.
    • Establish that a father-child relationship existed before the child reached the age of 21. This approach is appropriate in circumstances when the father did not legitimate the child before he or she turned 18. In this case, you must not only prove that you are the biological father but also establish a father-son relationship.
      • Under this, you must demonstrate that you and your child lived together before he or she became 21 or that there was a genuine father-child relationship before your child turned 21 or married.
      • You’ll need documents or evidence that will prove the abovementioned condition. The documents listed below, but not limited to, can be used to show any of the two conditions:
        • Correspondence or letters addressed to each other
        • Proof of financial support for your child (e.g., checks)
        • Photos that show you and your child together
        • Scholl documents with your name on them
        • Sworn statements provided by at least two people who know of the father-child relationship
        • U.S. income tax returns showing the child listed as a dependent
        • Birthday, Valentine’s, Christmas, and other holiday cards were sent and received.
  1. Legitimated Child of Recently Married Parents
    • This refers to those children who were born out of wedlock, but before he or she reaches the age of 18, his or her parents got married. If you are the mother, you may just provide your child’s birth certificate to prove your relationship, but if you are the father, you must present the birth certificate together with your marriage certificate.
  1. Stepchild
    • This refers to a child whose either mother or father was married to another person who is not his or her biological parent. Under this classification, you’ll need to present your child’s birth certificate and the marriage certificate.
    • It must be noted that in order to benefit from a step-relationship, the marriage must be done before the child reaches the age of 18.
  1. Adopted Child
    • To be eligible for a visa petition under this classification, you must consider completing the adoption procedure before the child reaches the age of 16. You should also consider whether the child resides in a signatory country of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children.
    • Remember that only a U.S. citizen may petition and that the petition must be lodged before the child’s 16 birthday, and the child must be adopted abroad.
  • The application process for a visa petition
  • Step 1: Complete Form I-130 and its supporting documents.
    • To begin the application procedure, you must mail the petition form to the USCIS. The necessary Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) must be accompanied by the following supporting documents:
      • The child’s birth certificate
      • Parents’ marriage certificate. If you are the father petitioning for your child who is born out of wedlock, provide evidence as described previously above.
      • documents demonstrating the parent’s citizenship or permanent residency in the United States
      • Form I-130 filing fee
  • The abovementioned documents are only applicable to all classifications except for children adopted from Hague Convention countries.
  • In the case where your child was adopted from a non–Hague Convention country, the following documents must also be presented:
    • The adoption decree that indicates that the adoption was made prior to the age of 16.
    • Documents showing legal custody for at least two years
    • Documents proving that the adopted child has resided with the adopting parent or parents for at least two years (such as school and medical records)
    • A child’s birth certificate indicating the adopting parent as mother or father as a result of the adoption decree
    • Documents indicating the petitioner’s parent’s marital status.
  • TIP: It would be ideal if you included a cover letter explaining the type of petition with your petition. You can also add a list of the papers you’re sending to the USCIS. This will benefit you since it will give the appearance that you are well-organized.
  • Step 2: File the I-130 petition.
    • For unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) and who live overseas, the parent can create an account and file online at or mail the visa petition to USCIS’s Dallas or Phoenix lockbox (depending on where he or she lives). Once the visa petition is approved,  the matter will be sent to the local U.S. consulate (consulate processing) where your child lives.
  • For unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens (immediate relatives) and who live in the United States, your visa application must be accompanied by an Application to Adjust Status.
  • For all children of U.S. permanent residents and married or over-21 children of U.S. citizens (preference relatives) who live overseas, you’ll need to follow the same process as the first one. In addition, your child will be put on a waiting list if the application is approved. The waiting list will depend on the Priority Date given to your child, and when it becomes ‘current,’ then it means that it’s your child’s turn.
  • For all children of U.S. permanent residents and married or over-21 children of U.S. citizens (preference relatives) and who live in the United States, you’ll need to follow the same process as the third approach, but unlike the third approach, it could take years before the Priority Date becomes current, at which point your child will no longer have legal rights to remain in the United States when the time comes. If this occurs, I recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best course of action to follow.


  1. As a parent, you want your child to be with you. You want to see them grow and experience life, especially of what America could offer to them. Make it more than just a dream. Let me help you turn this into reality.
  1. That’s all for today’s episode.
  1. IF you find this video informative, then like and share it with your friends who are also applying or are thinking about getting a green card.
  1. And if you have any ideas for future videos or would like me to talk about a particular immigration-related topic, go ahead, and let me know in the comment section down below.
  1. Until next time, stay healthy and be safe.


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