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US Citizen Kid Sponsoring Parent

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Can my U.S. Citizen child sponsor me for a green card?

Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, an immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Today's question comes from Aneil

Key takeaways:

  • Birthright citizenship does not give the child’s foreign parent a path to a green card.
  • U.S. citizen kids can stay in the United States, but their foreign parents can’t. 
  • U.S. citizen children can only file Form I-130 once they’re 21.

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When Can a U.S. Citizen Kid Sponsor Their Parent for a Green Card?

Aneil says that he has a U.S. citizen child who's eight years old. His child has nobody else in the United States who can protect him, and Aneil is wondering, can that serve as a basis for Aneil, the father of the eight-year-old citizen, to get a green card? 

And the answer to this question is no. You can't get a green card based on having a relationship with a U.S. citizen child until that child is of the right age. 

Under current law, it's not until the child turns 21 that they can sponsor their parent for a green card. 

Now once they turn 21, they can file an 1-130 petition for an alien relative and sponsor their parents to come to the United States or to adjust their status here in the United States. 

The Misconceptions About Birthright Citizenship

That's great that Aneil has a child who was born in the United States, but some people that are under the mistaken belief that in and of itself will give the foreign national parent a path to a green card. It doesn't. 

We hear a lot of questions regarding “If my child is born in USA, can I get a green card?” or about the so-called birthright citizenship. If someone is born in the United States, they're automatically a citizen. That is not the case in most foreign countries, and it is the rule in America. 

A lot of people sometimes come here on a student visa or a work visa, and they and their spouse end up having a child. That child ends up being born in the United States, and then for a long time, that child is the only US citizen in the family unless there are other children.

A lot of times, people's visas will run out, and they'll have to leave the United States. And we get this email a lot, this question a lot, like the question that Aneil asked. "Well, the fact that I have this U.S. citizen child, will that give me some sort of status in the United States?" And the answer is no. It doesn't give you any status until they turn 21. 

A lot of people will say, "Well, Jim, I want my child to go to school. Can I get a visa to just attend school with them or to move?" 

I remember that there's a school for the deaf here in the United States, in St. Louis, actually, where we are. We had a client whose son was attending Central Institute for the Deaf. They wanted to know if they could get a visa to be here and take care of the kid while he was going to the deaf school, and that didn't work. 

The fact that the child was born in the United States doesn't give the parents the right to stay. And so that's true if they want to come to get medical treatment or schooling, or even just live their life here.

A lot of people think, "Oh, well, it's just fundamentally unfair that my U.S. citizen child can't stay in the United States." The fact is that they could stay in the United States. They can, but you can't. And so that's what you need to keep in mind. 

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Wrap-Up: If My Child Is Born In USA, Can I Get A Green Card?

Whether you can get a Green Card based on your child being born in the USA depends on your child's age and your own circumstances:

Child born in the USA and at least 21 years old:

  • Yes. This falls under the family-based sponsorship category for parents of US citizens. Requirements include:
    • Your child must be 21 years old or older.
    • Both you and your child must be living in the USA.
    • You must intend to permanently reside in the USA.
  • This process involves filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status). That means you may need to present additional documents, such as evidence of U.S. citizenship that includes a birth certificate or naturalization certificate.

Child born in the USA and under 21 years old:

  • Unfortunately, no. A child born in the USA under 21 cannot currently sponsor their parents for a Green Card.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Your immigration status. Your eligibility for becoming a lawful permanent resident through your child also depends on your current immigrant status in the USA. For example, if you are undocumented, the process may be more complex.
  • Visa availability. There are often wait times for an immigrant visa based on family sponsorship. The wait time depends on your specific category and country of origin.

Seeking professional advice

Given the complexities of immigration law, you must work with an experienced immigration attorney. We can assess your specific situation and provide the best course of action. We can help navigate the processes involved in the National Visa Center and USCIS so you can become a green card holder.

If you have questions about how a child can sponsor a parent for a green card or anything related to citizenship and immigration services, call us at 314-325-0094. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. 

And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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