Question: I am a U.S. green card holder. I recently left the U.S. and traveled to China to give birth to my son. How can I take my newborn son to the U.S.? Do I need to apply for a visa or a green card for him? Is he automatically a green card holder?
Answer: If you and your son satisfy all of the following requirements, your son can enter the U.S. without a visa, and he will receive a green card shortly after entering the U.S.:
- The child’s mother is a U.S. lawful permanent resident (a green card holder);
- The child is born outside the U.S.;
- The child travels to the U.S. before the child is two years old;
- The child travels to the U.S. with a parent who is a green card holder;
- The child accompanies the parent on the parent’s first trip back to the U.S. after the child’s birth; and
- The lawful permanent resident parent is found to be admissible to the United States.
Does my child need a visa or green card to enter the U.S.?
A child who satisfies all of the above requirements can enter the U.S. without a visa. When you travel to the U.S., you must bring: your passport, your green card, your child’s passport, your child’s birth certificate, and of course, your child.
When you arrive in the U.S., U.S. Customs will place an I-551 stamp in your child’s passport. An I-551 stamp serves as temporary proof that your child is a lawful permanent resident. USCIS will send your child a green card in the mail within about 30 days of your arrival in the U.S. You do not need to submit any other forms or pay any fees. Your child is now a lawful permanent resident.
Who is ineligible for this process?
If you or your child do not satisfy all of the requirements above, you cannot use the procedure described in this article, and your child must apply for a visa to enter the U.S.
For example, if the child’s mother is not a green card holder, you cannot use this procedure. Similarly, if you wait until the child is over two years old before traveling to the U.S., you cannot use this procedure, and you must apply for a visa for your child.
Also, note that the child’s mother must be a green card holder, and the child must enter the U.S. with a parent who is a green card holder. But that does not mean the child must enter the U.S. with the child’s mother. If both parents are green card holders, the child can enter the U.S. with the father.
It is also important to remember that the child must travel to the U.S. with a parent on the parent’s first trip to the U.S. after the child is born. If you leave the child in China, travel to the U.S., then return to China, you would not be able to use the procedure described in this article; you would need to apply for a visa for your child.
How do I prove I am the child’s parent?
When you travel to the U.S. with your newborn child, you must bring your child’s birth certificate. The birth certificate must display your name as the child’s parent. The birth certificate must be notarized and translated into English.
What can I do if my child does not satisfy these requirements?
If for any reason you or your child does not satisfy the above requirements, you will need to apply for an immigrant visa for your child. Current processing times are slow, and you might have to wait at least a year and a half before your child receives a visa and is able to travel to the U.S.
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ImmiFree.Law is The Harrison Law Firm P.C.’s online platform to make the family immigration and naturalization process more efficient, accurate, and affordable. Baya Harrison, Esq. is an attorney licensed in New York, Florida, and California. Attorney Harrison has helped numerous individuals and families navigate the U.S. immigration process, specifically family-based petitions and naturalization.