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How does the government define "child" for immigration purposes?

Every parent wants a better life for his or her child. As a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, you may file a petition to bring your child into the country. Even a child age 21 or older may gain entry and permanent residency under certain circumstances.

Of course, certain rules and regulations exist, governing the entry of a child who does not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Before you file a petition, however, you need to make sure that the family member meets U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' definition of "child."

Who does USCIS consider a child?

Of course, USCIS considers a biological child born to you and the other parent while married as a child for immigration purposes. Your child may not fit this definition, but you may file a petition if your circumstances fit one of the following scenarios:

  • A stepparent married prior to the stepchild's 18th birthday files the petition.
  • A biological mother petitions for a child born out of wedlock.
  • An adoptive parent may file the petition if he or she adopted the child before the child had reached the age of 16, along with a sibling of that child who is between ages 16 and 18. The child or children must live with the adoptive parent for a minimum of two years prior to filing.
  • A legitimized biological father petitions for a child born out of wedlock.
  • A biological father not legitimized who can prove a parent/child relationship before the child turned 21 and/or prior to the child's marriage files the petition.
  • A non-gestational mother recognized at the time of birth as the legal parent of a child born using Assisted Reproductive Technology files the petition.

As you can see, the rules get quite specific even when it comes to biological children. If you wonder whether your child qualifies under USCIS rules, you may want to consult with an attorney.

Your child meets one of the definitions. Now what?

After determining that your child meets the definition of a child for immigration purposes, you will need to file a petition and go through the remainder of the process. You will need to gather and provide the required documentation, file the appropriate forms and wait for a determination.

You could increase the odds of avoiding a denial by enlisting the aid of a Mississippi immigration attorney before moving forward. If you already received a denial, it may be possible to appeal that decision, and you can enlist aid in this endeavor as well.

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