Recently, the topic of immigration in America has been in the forefront of the news. Many people know, for example, that a United States Citizen can petition for his/her parents to become green card holders (i.e. permanent residents). But what about stepparents? As a Miami immigration lawyer, I have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions about petitioning for your stepparents.

I am a U.S. citizen. My stepparent did not adopt me. Can I still petition for him/her?

You may be surprised to know that your stepparent does not have to adopt you in order for you to petition for an adjustment of status on their behalf.  In fact, there are certain cases where a stepchild could directly petition the stepparent as an “immediate relative,” (i.e. as if the stepparent was a biological parent).

Can any United States citizen stepchild petition for his/her stepparent?

No. This differs on a case by case basis. In order for a stepchild to petition for his/her stepparent, the petitioner must demonstrate the following:

  • The stepparent/child relationship must be formed before the child reaches the age of 18.   If the beneficiary’s marriage to the United States citizen child’s parent takes place when the U.S. citizen child is 18 years of age or older, the child cannot petition the stepparent. This means – a valid marriage must place while the child is below 18 years of age.
  • The child must be at least 21 years old in order to petition a parent or stepparent .

If you have any questions as to whether your stepparent qualifies under the criteria above, do not guess. I recommend consulting with a Miami immigration lawyer.

How would I go about petitioning for my stepparent?

If you would like to pursue a green card for your stepparent, you and/or your Miami immigration lawyer may plan to file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and a Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. Again, if you have any doubts or questions as to whether your stepparent qualifies, it is best to consult first with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What kinds of documents will I need to show that my stepparent qualifies?

You will need the following documents, including but not limited to:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and the names of your birth parent

If you were not born in the U.S., a copy of either

  • Your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship, or
  • Your U.S. passport
  • A copy of the civil marriage certificate of your birth parent to your stepparent showing that the marriage occurred before your 18th birthday
  • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that would verify the termination of any previous marriage(s) entered into by your birth parent or stepparent

If you would like more information on petitioning for your stepparent, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at www.mmurraylaw.com .