Bringing Your Child to Live in the U.S.: A Guide to Understanding the Process and Getting Legal Help

When you’re ready to bring your child to the United States, there are several steps you’ll need to take. The first step is determining whether or not your child is eligible for immigration status in the U.S. If they are not legally allowed to enter or remain in this country, there may be other options available for them elsewhere–such as remaining with relatives who live outside of America’s borders or applying for asylum from another country.

If your child does qualify for an immigration visa, he or she will then need to apply for one at an embassy or consulate office abroad before coming back into the United States on it (if applicable). There are several types of visas available depending on what type of relationship exists between parent(s) and child(ren), including:

Gathering the Necessary Documentation

You will need to gather the necessary documentation and paperwork to apply for a visa. This can be done by yourself, or you can use the services of an immigration attorney. The following are some of the most common types of documents that may be required:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Financial records (bank statements, tax returns)

Applying for a Visa

You can apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The application process includes an interview with a consular officer, who will determine whether you are eligible for the visa and make sure that you are not inadmissible under U.S. immigration laws (for example, if you have been convicted of certain crimes).
The processing time varies depending on which type of nonimmigrant visa is being applied for:

  • Nonimmigrant Student (F-1) Visa: 4-6 weeks
  • Employment-based Nonimmigrant Worker Visas: 2-3 months

Entering the U.S.

You must have a valid visa to enter the United States. If you do not, an officer may refuse to admit you at the border or airport.
You will need:

  • Proof of your child’s relationship to you (such as a birth certificate). This can be provided by either parent if they are both present at the time of entry; otherwise, one parent must provide evidence of sole custody or legal guardianship over their child in order for them to accompany them into the country.
  • Evidence showing that all members on board have sufficient funds for their stay in America and proof that they plan on returning home after their visit here ends (this can include bank statements).
  • Obtaining Legal Status
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Types of Legal Status Available for Children

Getting Help with the Process

You can get help with the process by hiring an immigration attorney. These lawyers specialize in immigration law and will be able to guide you through the entire process of bringing your child to live in the U.S., from filing your petition to making sure they are eligible for a green card.

Nonprofit organizations that provide legal and social services may also be able to assist you with finding an attorney or other resources that can help with your case. The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) offers free legal advice for immigrants who don’t have much money, as does its sister organization American Immigration Council (AIC). Another great resource is Immigration Advocates Network (IAN), which provides free consultations with experienced attorneys on all aspects of immigration law including family-based petitions such as this one! You can find more information about these organizations at their websites:;, or call 1-800-354-0365 toll free 24 hours per day 7 days per week!

If there isn’t anyone available locally who knows how everything works then it might be worth traveling somewhere else where there are more resources available – but only if necessary since this will cost money too!”

Thomas Elliott

Education: Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York. Pace University, White Plains, New York.
Professional Associations and Memberships: American Bar Association, New York State Bar, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Brooklyn Bar Association, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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