Question: I am a U.S. citizen. I would like to apply for an immigrant visa for my child who lives in China. My child is 18 years old. What is the process to apply for an immigrant visa for my child who lives outside the U.S?
Answer: The process to apply for an immigrant visa for your unmarried children under the age of 21 who live outside the U.S. is called “consular processing.” There are three major steps to consular processing.
What are the steps for consular processing?
To apply for an immigrant visa for your unmarried child under the age of 21 who lives outside the U.S., you must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (a green card holder). There are three steps to apply for an immigrant visa for your child.
Step 1: Submit Form I-130 to USCIS.
The first step to obtain an immigrant visa for your child who lives outside the U.S. is to complete and submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You must submit one Form I-130 for each child. This form requires you to provide basic background information about you and your child. You must attach proof that you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, for example your U.S. birth certificate, your U.S. passport, your U.S. naturalization certificate, or your green card. You must submit a copy of your child’s birth certificate to prove your relationship to your child. If you are the child’s father, you must submit a copy of your marriage certificate with your child’s mother. The filing fee for Form I-130 is currently $535 per child. The timeframe for USCIS to approve a Form I-130 is typically around one year.
Step 2: Submit Form DS-260 and Form I-864 to NVC.
After USCIS approves your Form I-130, USCIS will transfer your application to the National Visa Center (NVC). During this step, you must file Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application) with the NVC to provide additional information about your child. You must also submit copies of your child’s birth certificate and passport.
In addition, you, the parent, must submit Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) to establish that you have sufficient income to support your child financially. You must submit your tax return for the most recent year (including your Form W2 or Form 1099). You must also submit proof of your income for the current year.
The filing fee for this second step is currently $445 per child. It typically takes NVC several months to approve an application.
Step 3: Consular Interview.
If NVC approves your application, it will transfer your case to the U.S. consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over your child’s application. The consulate or embassy will then notify you of a date and time for your child to appear for an interview. Before the interview, your child must undergo a physical exam. Your child will receive the results of the exam in a sealed envelope. Your child must bring this sealed envelope to the interview. Your child must also bring originals of his or her birth certificate and passport. Your child must bring a copy of proof that you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder. The embassy or consulate will issue your child an immigrant visa, and he or she will be permitted to travel to the U.S. A month or two after entering the U.S., your child will receive a green card in the mail.
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.