Who qualifies as a child for immigration?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2022 | Family Immigration

Having your family in the United States is probably your priority. While this is easy for some people, those who have children in foreign countries might face challenges to make this a reality. 

It’s possible to bring your child to the U.S. if you’re a citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Before you decide to file the petition, you should understand who qualifies as a child for this purpose. This includes:

Biological children

Biological children qualify as children, whether they’re born in wedlock or out of wedlock. In all cases, the mother can petition without having to prove legitimation. A father would need legitimization if the child was born out of wedlock.


A stepchild qualifies as a child for immigration purposes as long as the marriage that made them your stepchild happened before the child’s 18th birthday.

Adopted children

Adopted children qualify if they’re adopted before they turn 16, but that can be extended to 18 in some cases. The adoptive parent must have 2 years of joint residency and legal custody. These situations can be rather complex, so working with someone who’s familiar with adoption immigration and understands your circumstances is beneficial.

Other situations

Certain children born through reproductive technology methods will qualify as your children for immigration purposes. This is possible if the non-genetic gestational mother is considered the baby’s legal parent at the time of birth in the jurisdiction where the child was born.

Anyone who’s dealing with immigration matters should ensure they have the assistance of someone familiar with these matters. The fluid nature of the policies surrounding immigration can make it difficult to keep up with what’s going on.