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Pursuing a green card for a step-parent or adoptive parent

There are many different family situations a person could come from. For example, some people have an adoptive parent or a step-parent. When a U.S. citizen has such a parent who is from another country, one thing they might desire is for that parent to be able to live and work here in America.

Now, as long as a U.S. citizen is over 21, a parent is one of the types of relatives that they are generally allowed to petition for a green card for. Does this include step-parents or adoptive parents?

It does; U.S. law allows citizens to submit green card petitions for these non-biological parents. However, there are certain rules regarding when the step-parent or adoptive relationship was formed that have to be met for the parent to be eligible for a parent green card. For an adoptive parent, they generally have to have adopted the U.S. citizen before the citizen turned 16. For a step-parent, they have to have married a biological parent of the U.S. citizen before the citizen turned 18.

Also worth noting is that there are some special requirements related to documentation that have to be met when petitioning for a green card for a step-parent or an adoptive parent. This includes documentation requirements related to showing that the step-parent or adoptive relationship was formed early enough.

As this illustrates, the specific family situation of a U.S. citizen who has foreign relatives can impact what immigration options they have regarding their relatives and what they would need to do to pursue these options. Skilled immigration lawyers can answer questions U.S. citizens have about what immigration avenues might be available for foreign relatives they have.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “Bringing Parents to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents,” Accessed Feb. 2, 2017

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