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I am a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident . If my children are born while I am abroad, do they automatically obtain LPR status?

A happy family of 4

Children born to a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) (green card holder) while they are living in the United States will in most cases acquire U.S. citizenship by birth on U.S. soil. But what if the child is born during a time when the LPR is outside the United States, when they are temporarily visiting their home country or a third country? In this case, is LPR status “automatically passed down” to the child?

Admission as LPR by virtue of birth, accompanied by LPR parent

There are two limited situations in which a child may obtain LPR status without an immigrant visa just by virtue of their recent birth to the accompanying parent:

  • The child was born after the parent obtained his or her immigrant visa and before they traveled to the United States on that visa, during the validity period of this immigrant visa. Given that an immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months, this is a very narrow window of time.
  • The child was born to a LPR mother while she was temporarily visiting abroad, and the child accompanies the LPR mother in the first return trip to the U.S. after the birth of the child, and the child is less than 2 years old at the time of return.

Sponsorship through I-130, F2A category

In all other cases, the recourse for passing permanent resident status to children of an LPR is through filing an I-130 petition under the preference category, F2A. Historically, there have been sufficient numbers of visas available for spouses and children of LPRs such that the priority dates have always been “current.” This means the children can apply for permanent residency as soon as the I-130 petition is approved. If the children are already in the United States in a different non-immigrant status, an adjustment of status (I-485) petition can even be filed concurrently with the I-130 in this case.

Joining parent’s application as derivative beneficiary

If the children were born before the immigrant visa was issued to the parent at the time they applied for permanent residency, it is possible that the children could have been added to the green card application as derivative beneficiaries. The availability of derivative green cards depends on the type of the parent’s underlying immigrant petition.

If the eligibility for the green card was based on an I-140, employment based petition or I-526, immigrant investor petition, or Diversity Visa selection, children of principal beneficiaries under 21 could be eligible for green cards as derivative beneficiaries.  If the green card was based on one of the “family preference” categories among I-130 petitions, such as adult (and/or married) sons and daughters of US citizens, brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, and spouses and children of LPRs, dependents of principal beneficiaries could be also eligible for a green card as derivative beneficiaries. By contrast, if the eligibility for the green card was based on an I-130 petition for an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen (spouse, children under 21, parent), the beneficiary cannot add their own dependents as derivative beneficiaries.

Related posts:

Who are derivative beneficiaries?

Green Card Through Marriage to a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident:

Can I put my non-US citizen child as a derivative beneficiary on the I-130 petition?

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