You might dream of bringing your child from another country into the United States in the near future. If so, you may have reason to be optimistic about your chances. Even if you did not conceive your child within the boundaries of a married relationship, United States immigration law still allows children born out of wedlock to attain permanent legal status.
There may be a few additional steps to take depending on the nature of your relationship with your offspring. The USCIS explains what to expect in different familial situations.
When to legitimate a child
According to U.S. immigration law, you may have to legitimate your child before the law will allow your child to come to the U.S. If you are the mother of a child, you do not have to provide legitimation. It is different, however, if you are the father. In this case, you must legitimate your child according to the laws of your place of residence or your child’s.
If you are unable to legitimate the relationship of your child, you might still be able to bring over your child to the United States. You just have to show that you had a legitimate parent-child relationship with your son or daughter. You must establish this relationship existed before your child turned 21 years old or before your child got married.
The law concerning stepchildren
You might not be the genetic parent of your child. Instead, your spouse had a child from a previous relationship. If so, U.S. immigration law still allows your child to come to the country as your stepchild, provided that you had married your spouse before your stepchild reached 18 years old.
Circumstances like these might seem intimidating, but U.S. immigration law recognizes different family situations. Whether you had a child with a spouse or through some other means, you might find that your circumstances just require a few extra steps to realize your immigration dreams for your family.