As a Miami immigration attorney, I often am asked whether a stepchild relationship counts for immigration. The short answer is, yes – as a stepparent, you can certainly file an immigrant petition for your stepchild. Below are some frequently asked questions.
1. Do I have to adopt my stepchild in order to file for adjustment of immigration status for him/her?
You may file an immigrant petition for a stepchild without having to legally adopt your stepchild. However, please be aware that under United States law, a stepparent and the biological parent of the stepchild must get married before the child turns 18 years old.
2. My stepchild has already turned 18. What options to do I have?
If your stepchild has already turned 18 years old, another option would be for the biological parent to petition for his/her child after his or her permanent residency status is obtained. At this juncture, I would strongly urge you and/or your family member to first consult with an immigration lawyer.
3. Is there any benefit to having a US Citizen stepparent file for a stepchild?
Yes. By having the United States Citizen file for his/her stepchild, you may be able to avoid the visa backlogs currently experienced by legal permanent residents who are filing for their minor children (second preference category).
4. I am the biological parent of a child who is already over 18 years of age, and I plan on marrying a United States Citizen. What options do I have?
You may want to consider postponing the marriage to give the child an opportunity to enter the United States faster. Here’s how – if you delay your marriage to the United States Citizen fiance, he/she can file a fiancé petition for you, the biological parent.
Once the fiancé petition is approved, K visas can be issued for both the you (the biological parent) and your child to enter the United States. After marrying your United States Citizen fiance, you and your child can apply for adjustment of status to switch from K to permanent resident status.
If you think would like more information on filing an immigrant petition on behalf of your stepchild, please contact Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305)895-2500 or visit our website at www. mmurraylaw.com