Question: I am a U.S. citizen. I just got married to a woman in the Philippines. She has two minor children from a prior marriage. I would like to file an I-130 petition to bring her to live with me in the United States. Can I bring her children to the U.S. as well? Do I have to legally adopt my wife’s children before I can apply for them to immigrate to the U.S.?
Answer: If you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and marry someone who has a child, the child might qualify as your stepchild. If you married the child’s biological parent before the child turned 18 years of age, the child is your “stepchild” for immigration purposes. You can apply for your stepchild to immigrate to the U.S. the same way you would apply for your own biological child. You are not required to legally adopt your stepchild before you can apply for your stepchild to immigrate to the U.S.
U.S. Citizens filing a petition
As a U.S. citizen, you must file a separate I-130 petition for your spouse and each child. If your spouse has children that want to immigrate with her to the U.S., you must file a separate Form I-130 for your spouse and each stepchild.
Lawful Permanent Residents filing a petition
As a lawful permanent resident, you are not required to file separate Form I-130 petitions for your spouse’s children under 21 years of age. Your spouse’s unmarried children under the age of 21 are considered derivative beneficiaries. You must list these children on your spouse’s Form I-130.
I am applying for a K1 visa for my fiancée. Can her children immigrate to the U.S. with her?
U.S. citizens can apply for a K1 fiancée visa for their fiancé(e)s. If your fiancée has a child who is under 21 and unmarried, the child may be eligible to come to the U.S. on a K-2 nonimmigrant visa. You must include the names of your fiancée’s children on Form I-129F.
The children must continue to be unmarried and under 21 in order to be admitted to the U.S. as K-2 nonimmigrants. They may immigrate to the U.S. with your fiancée, but they cannot travel to the U.S. before your fiancée. K-2 nonimmigrant children should apply for a green card at the same time or after your fiancée.
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.