Who Counts as a Child When Getting an Immigrant Visa or Green Card?

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When it comes to offering up visas, the United States Government likes to see children get granted a visa or permanent resident status. Due to this fact, it's not uncommon to find an immigrant trying to claim someone as

a child who isn't. The U.S. immigration policy has very definitive rules on who is considered a child of an immigrant.

A Talk About Age

When you have children, they're considered your children for life. However, the U.S. Government doesn't usually grant adult children visas because their parents receive one. There is a strict age limit of being under the age of 21 to be considered a child. Any green card attorney in Los Angeles will reveal that a person who turns 21 years of age is referred to as an adult daughter or son, according to U.S. immigration law.

Since the immigration process is a long one, it can be a bit confusing for those around the age of legal adulthood. In your search for legal immigration help Los Angeles, you'll discover that many children face the problem of phasing out. This is a term used to describe children who turn 21 years of age before a visa or green card is granted to them.

According to U.S. immigration law, the child must be under the age of 21 at the time the visa or green card is approved by the U.S. Government. As with most laws, any Los Angeles family immigration lawyer will tell you that some persons can still get granted a visa or green card. These persons can utilize areas of the Child Status Protection Act to fight their case.

What If The Child Is Married?

Your attorney for immigrant families Los Angeles will explain that married children who are under the age of 21 do not usually qualify for visas or green cards. This is a very important concept to note if you're waiting on the immigration process. Any green card attorney Los Angeles will recommend that you hold off getting married until after you get your visa or green card. This makes the process super simple and ensures that you're still eligible under immigration standards.

Who Is Classified As A Child

Traditionally, a child is defined as a biological child that was born to a married couple. However, this definition is outdated for this day and age. The U.S. immigration law has taken this into account and put children into five different categories.

Children Born Out Of Wedlock
If two adults that are not married have a child, it's considered out of wedlock. The child is automatically a natural child of the mother. The child is only considered a natural child of the father if the child and the father have a bona fide child-parent relationship.

Children Born In Wedlock
A child that is considered born in wedlock is one where both the mother and father were married at the time of the child's birth. The child is considered a natural child of both the mother and the father. This is the most straight-forward case. The child is still considered born in wedlock, regardless of whether or not the child's parents divorce after their birth.

Stepchildren
The law defines a stepchild as one whose natural parent married another person. For a child to be considered for a visa or green card as a 'child' of their stepparent, their stepparent and natural parent must've been married before the child turned 18 years of age.

In the event that the stepparent and the natural parent separate, divorce, or the natural parent dies, the application can enter a grey area. In most cases, as long as the child still has an on-going relationship with the stepparent, they can still be considered a 'stepchild' under the definition of U.S. immigration law.

Legitimated Children
When a child is born out of wedlock, the father can undergo a legal process called 'legitimation' to assume legal responsibility for the child. In the case of claiming a legitimated child for a visa or green card, the parent must have gone through the legitimation process before the child turned 18 years of age.

Adopted Children
The last type of child that is considered eligible for getting a visa or green card is an adopted one. Under the U.S. immigration law, a child is considered adopted if the adoption took place while they were under the age of 16, and the child resides with the adopting parent. Once this adoption takes place, the natural parents may no longer consider the child theirs.

Immigration Visa Vs. Green Card

Your Los Angeles family immigration lawyer can reveal that understanding the difference between these two key statuses is a must to ensure you pick the right one. An immigrant visa is your very first step in obtaining a permanent residence status. This visa is typically granted based on a petitioning sponsor who is a U.S. citizen. In some rarer cases, immigrant visas can be awarded through asylum and a visa lottery.

A green card, on the other hand, is the second step in obtaining permanent residence status. Once you obtain your immigrant visa, you can come to live in the United States for a set period of time. Immediately after you're granted your immigration visa, you'll want to enlist the help of an attorney for immigrant families Los Angeles to assist with filling out a green card application.

When a person receives a green card, they are officially a legal resident of the United States. They may come and go as they please with no restriction of how long they can remain in the country. With a green card, you're granted access to living in the United States until you die. For this reason, a green card is the ultimate goal of many immigrants looking to live their lives within the safety of the United State's borders. Contact our immigration lawyer in Los Angeles today!

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