Can I bring my children to live with me in the U.S.?

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Not all couples marry. Not all children who live together share the same two parents. If you want to bring your child to the United States, you need to understand how immigration authorities define children.

If you are in the U.S. on a green card, you can only apply to bring your “children” if they are not married. If you are a U.S. citizen, you can apply whether they are married or not.

How do U.S. immigration authorities define “children”?

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers the following as children:

  • Your biological child: If you are a father applying, you may need to provide proof. The authorities assume the relationship if the birth mother applies.
  • Your adopted child: Provided you adopted them before they were 16 years old. There may be ways to include children adopted up to the age of 18.
  • Your stepchild: Provided you and their parent married before the child was 18.
  • Your child born via ART: A child conceived via Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Provided the laws of the place the child was born to consider the mother as the mother.

Whatever category your child fits, you will need documentation to support your claim. An attorney can advise you on what you need.

Do I have to wait until the application is processed for my child to join me in the U.S.?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you can apply for a K-4 nonimmigrant visa to have your child join you while you wait to hear. If you hold a green card, you might be able to bring them sooner via a V nonimmigrant visa.

Immigration issues are complex. When reuniting your family is at stake, it is best to have someone to guide you through the process.