If your child is a U.S. citizen and is 21 or older, he/she can sponsor you for a green card under the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen category. If your U.S. citizen child wants to sponsor you and your spouse, he/she will have to file a separate I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS for each of you. If you are currently in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, you can file the Adjustment of Status application at the same time. If you are outside the U.S. when the I-130 petition is filed, you will have to apply for a green card through Consular Processing. Please see more details about this process when you click here.

Can I include my child who is not a U.S. citizen on the I-130 petition as a derivative beneficiary so he/she can get a green card at the same time as me?

No. Under the immediate relative of a U.S. citizen category, your U.S. citizen child can only sponsor you as a parent of a U.S. citizen under the immediate relative category and you cannot include your non-U.S. citizen child as derivative beneficiary on the petition.

How can my non-U.S. citizen child get a green card then? Can I sponsor my child under the F2A category once I become a green card holder?

Once your green card petition is approved and you become a lawful permanent resident, you could sponsor your non-U.S. citizen child under the F2A family based preference categories. The following requirement have to be met:

  1. Your child is under 21, and
  2. Your child is unmarried.

Please note that the number of green cards issued for each family based preference categories is limited. Currently, the F2A preference category is “current”, meaning that if the green card applicant is in the U.S., the Adjustment Status application can be filed concurrently with the I-130 petition, as there is no backlog and visa is currently available for all applicants within the F2A preference category.

The question that often arises is: What happens if my child was under 21 when the petition was filed but turns 21 before the green card petition is approved? The U.S. Congress enacted the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) to protect certain children from aging out. CSPA provides a method for calculating person’s age to see if they meet the immigration law definition of child.

Your child’s CSPA age would be calculated in the following way:

Your child’s age at the time of visa availability – pending time = the CSPA Age

What is the age at the time of visa availability?

This is your child’s age either at the time the petition was approved or the first date of the month of the visa bulletin that indicates that the visa is available for you child.

What is pending time?

This is the time between the date that the petition was properly filed and the approval date.

What if my child’s CSPA age is over 21? Is there any other way how he/she can get a green card?

Once you become a U.S. citizen, you could sponsor your child under the F1 family based preference category if your child is unmarried.

If your child is over 21 and married, you could sponsor him/her under the F3 family based preference category.

Please note that neither the F1 nor the F3 preference category is current, meaning, that your child would have to wait to wait until the green card for him/her becomes available and the wait time is several years. For example, in February 2020, people who filed the I-130 petition in 2014 (except Mexico and Philippines) under the F1 category can apply for a green card, and people who filed the I-130 petition in 2008 (except Mexico and Philippines) can apply for a green card under the F3 category.

Please see our blog post discussing how to maintain your green card when you click here.

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