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To promote family unity, U.S. Immigration Law allows U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents to petition for their foreign-born children and step-children so they can live permanently in the United States. In order to do that, the U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident submits a Petition for Alien Relative to establish the existence of such relationship for children who live inside or outside the United States. U.S. Citizens may also file a petition for an orphan, but a Lawful Permanent Resident may not.

The Beneficiary of a visa petition falls under different classifications as follows:

  • If he/she is under 21 years old and unmarried; the Beneficiary is considered to be a “CHILD”. The “CHILD” of  a U.S. Citizen is considered Immediate Relative. Visas are always available for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens. This means that they do not have to wait in line for an Immigrant Visa to be available.
  • If he/she is 21 years of age or older or if he/she is married; the Beneficiary is considered a “SON” or “DAUGHTER”. “SONS and DAUGHTERS” of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can immigrate under the “Family Preference Immigrant” categories and  they have to wait for several years, after the visa petition is approved, before they can actually immigrate.

Filing a Petition is only the first step in the process to help a CHILD, SON or DAUGHTER to immigrate to the United States. The filing and/or approval of a petition does NOT give them any status in the United States.

If you are a U.S. Citizen, you can file a Petition for your:

  • Children (unmarried and under 21);   
  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or over) and your Son or Daughter’s Child(ren) may be included on this Petition;
  • Married Sons and Daughters (any age) and your Son or Daughter’s Spouse and/or Child(ren) may be included on this Petition.

If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident, you can file a Petition for your:    

  • Children (unmarried and under 21) and your Child’s Child(ren) may be included on this Petition.
  • Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 or over) and your Son or Daughter’s Child(ren) may be included on this Petition.

For Immigration purposes, a "Child" can be ANY of the following:

  • A genetic Child born IN wedlock;        
  • A genetic Child born OUT of wedlock;
  • A Child born through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to a non-genetic gestational Mother who is recognized under the law of the relevant jurisdiction as the Child’s legal parent at the time of the Child’s birth;   
  • A Stepchild, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred BEFORE the Child turned 18;   
  • An Adopted Child if the Child was adopted BEFORE age 16 or BEFORE their 18th birthday, if certain circumstances apply, AND the Adoptive Parent has satisfied 2-years of legal custody as well as joint residence requirements.

When petitioning for a child, son or daughter, the following preference categories apply:

  • First preference (F1) - unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of U.S. citizens;
  • Second preference (F2A) - children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
  • Second preference (F2B) - unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age and older) of lawful permanent residents; and
  • Third preference (F3) - married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.

An immigrant visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative was properly filed).

The USCIS filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is $535.  

Signature’s Form Preparation Service fees DO NOT include USCIS filing fees, biometric service fees or any other fees to be paid to the government. Any fee intended for the government is a separate fee and must be paid at the Client’s expense directly to USCIS.  Signature does not do that for you.

You may pay the USCIS filing fees with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check or by credit card. If you pay by check or money order, you must make your check payable to: “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. You must submit all fees in the exact amount. DO NOT MAIL CASH.

NOTE: USCIS filing fees and biometrics service fees are final and non-refundable, regardless of any action USCIS takes on your application or petition, or if you withdraw your petition.

Once USCIS receives your applications or petitions you will receive:

  •  Form I-797C, Notice of Action confirming receipt of your application and the filing fees.
  •  If required, USCIS may ise a Request for Evidence (RFE) to request missing initial or additional evidence.
  •  A Notice of decision or Approval Notice by mail,  if your application is approved.

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