What to Know About Your Stepchild Green Card Interview


 The stepchild green card interview is an immigration form that, if appropriately filed, can lead to the approval of a green card for an applicant.

Can I Petition for My Stepchildren?


You love your family, and like many people, your familial structure may be complicated. If you have a mixed family and want a better life for each member, you may wonder whether you can immigrate with your stepchildren. Generally, the answer is, “yes.”

You can petition for your stepchildren if they are under 18 and you are their legal guardian.

To do so, you will need to file the necessary forms and supporting documentation. For additional support in the immigration process for you and your family, you should consider retaining the services of a naturalization & citizenship lawyer like Michael G. Murray, P.A.


Can a U.S. Citizen Petition for a Stepchild Over 18?

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the National Visa Center, a U.S. citizen can petition for an immigrant visa or family-based green card for a stepchild who is over 18 if the stepchild is unmarried and under 21, or if the foreign national child has been legally emancipated by a court of law.

A U.S. citizen can also petition for a married step child of any age, as long as that person is not yet 21 years old and was living in the household when the marriage took place.


Can a U.S. Citizen Petition for a Stepchild Over 21?

If a U.S. citizen is petitioning for their stepchild, it helps if they are under the age of 21, still unmarried, financially dependent on you, and living with you in the U.S.

The petitioning citizen must also have had a parent-child relationship with the stepchild for at least two years before filing the petition. The relationship must be documented by affidavits from immediate relatives and other people who can testify to this fact.

How Do You Petition for Stepchild Immigration?


There are a few different ways that you can petition for stepchild immigration. Each is made easier by having the advocacy of an  immigration lawyer Austin Texas on your side. A skilled immigration attorney like Michael G. Murray can help with the following:

  1. File a petition for your stepchild to immigrate to the United States.
  2. File a petition for your stepchild to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
  3. File an application for your stepchild to become an American citizen.
  4. File an application for your child and their spouse, if they are married, as well as any children from the marriage, who are under 21 years old and unmarried.

Immigration law is complex and subject to frequent updates. To ensure that the green card application process goes smoothly for your unmarried children or adopted children, you should obtain an immigration lawyer.

What Is an I 130 for Stepchild?


An I-130 is a petition or form that is filed by an American citizen on behalf of his or her spouse or her biological children or a parent who lives abroad.

The I-130 form is used to establish the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. This document shows that both parties are eligible to apply for immigration benefits and also illustrates step child eligibility. These forms are also known as family-based petitions because they are filed by a family member on behalf of another family member.

By developing a strong attorney-client relationship with a skilled immigration lawyer from a reputable law firm, you can receive ongoing support with aspects like permanent residency or green card sponsorship, employment green card cases, and the adjustment of status process.

What Additional Green Card for Stepchild Info Do You Need?


The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines who is classified as a “child” and who is classified as a “stepchild.” A child is defined as an unmarried person under 21 years of age, who was not born out of wedlock, and is either:

  1. a legitimate child in the custody of one or both parents
  2. an illegitimate child whose paternity has been established by legitimation proceeding

A stepchild is defined as:

  1. any unmarried person under 18 years of age, who resides in the legal custody of one or both parents, but whose biological parents are not married to each other at the time

To do begin the process of getting a green card for your stepchild, you will need to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

You’ll also need to fill out an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and submit supporting evidence of your relationship with them, such as copies of the step child’s birth certificate, step child’s passport, marriage certificate, etc.

Can a U.S. Citizen Sponsor a Stepparent?

U.S. immigration law recognizes that step children are family members just like natural-born children born into the family. Therefore, the process for sponsoring a stepparent for permanent residence is the same as it is for a natural-born parent or any other family member’s immigration.

Since the process to get green cards or permanent residence is a bit difficult, immigrant visa applicants may want to consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney from a local immigration law office.

They can explain how a specific family relationship might affect the timeline or likelihood of success and guide you through the adjustment of status process.


What Questions Are Asked in a Family-based Immigration Interview?

The questions asked in a family-based immigration interview depend on the type of visa or green card being applied for. The following is a list of some of the questions that may be asked:

  • What is your relationship with the person you are sponsoring?
  • Do you know anyone who can testify to the validity of your relationship?
  • Do you have any children who will be coming with you?
  • Are you the child’s biological parent?
  • What are your plans for living in the United States?
  • Will you be working or studying while in the United States?
  • Do you plan to attend school in the U.S.? If so, what school do you plan to attend and what is your educational background?
  • What are your plans for returning home after visiting or living in the U.S.?
  • Do you have sufficient financial resources?

An experienced attorney will provide immigration lawyer services that may include helping clients prepare to go through the family green card interview process. Contact Michael G. Murray for more information.


Who Is Exempt From a Green Card Interview?

There are a few people who are exempt from the green card interview, and a knowledgeable immigration lawyer can further explain how it works. Several exemptions are:

  • Applicants who are filing an adjustment of status application
  • Applicants who are filing a petition for immediate relatives
  • Applicants who have already been granted asylum or refugee status
  • Applicants who have already been granted withholding of removal or protection under the Convention Against Torture
  • Applicants who are the spouse or genetic-born child of a U.S. citizen
  • An applicant born to two U.S. citizen parents residing in the United States

Before a green card marriage interview, the child’s birth parent and stepparent should review the basic immigration rules.

Green Card Process Summary


When preparing very young children for an immigration visa interview, it is vital that you as their parent, stepparent, or sponsor thoroughly understand the process. Green card sponsorship and helping an adopted child, married child, or unmarried child to follow immigration rules and become a permanent resident is a big responsibility.

Immigration attorney Michael G. Murray can provide information, advice, and representation for permanent residents wishing to become United States citizens.

Coronavirus update: We are safely open for business! USCIS is still accepting new filings for all applications. Our office is offering virtual consultations for new clients so that you don't have to come to our office in person. Call us to schedule your virtual meeting today.
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