Can Green Card Holders Bring their Children to the U.S.?

Green card holders should carefully consider if it will take longer to petition their children under their existing status, or if they should try to become a naturalized U.S. citizen first.

Green card holders living in the United States might have children or other dependents that are still living abroad due to unforeseen circumstances. If you are a legal resident of the U.S., you might be inquiring the most efficient way to bring your child to the United States to live with you. There are some options to consider for this route, and in this blog we will discuss the means for making this process a reality.

Immigrant Petition

First off, if you are living in the U.S. as a green card holder and want to bring your child to the United States, you need to understand that you will be filing what is called an “immigrant petition” on your childs behalf. This is because you intend on bringing your child to the United States on a permanent basis, and not for the purpose of a non-immigrant, temporary stay. Thus the I-130 form, available on the USCIS website will need to be filed first. As long as you are not going to become a U.S. citizen via naturalization anytime soon, you will need to consider this option first.

After you file an I-130, and pay the fees associated for that form, you will be issued a receipt number by the USCIS. Note that each child you plan on bringing to the United States will need a separate petition. You should also that the waiting period or processing time is different for children that are unmarried and under the age of 21, and for children that are over the age of 21. In other words, if your child is under the age of 21 and is unmarried, they will be filed under the F2A category, and children above the age of 21 will be filed under the F2B category. Each respective category has an associated priority date per the State Department visa bulletin.

Checking the Visa Bulletin will help ensure that green card holders understand each wait time. For example, scrolling down to the family based categories, you can see the “Final Action Date” table and the “Dates for Filing” table. If you’re I-130 petition is approved, your child should be able to more readily in the F2A category. The F2B category has slower filing dates. These dates are incredibly important in understanding when your child will be able to file paperwork for an immigrant visa, and also when an immigrant visa will become available. As you can see, the F2A category is already current in the Final Action Dates category, meaning an immigrant visa will be automatically available if and when your child goes through consular processing.

Citizenship Alternative

If you are looking at the State Department visa bulletin and are seeing that you might have to wait many years to successfully petition your child, you might consider that it would be quicker to naturalize, and then file an I-130 for an immediate relative, since there is an unlimited number of immigrant visas for such individuals. If you are going to become a U.S. citizen, or are in the process of your N-400, this might ultimately be a quicker option. Approval can be obtained in approximately 5 to 9 months for an immediate relative petition as you will not be subjected to the Visa Bulletin quotas.[1]

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.