Immigration: Parent/Child Relationships in Preferences
Unless you have been adopted and do not have a relationship with your natural mother, you are considered the child of your natural mother. For fathers to be considered parents, the following are considered:
- The child is born in wedlock;
- The child was legitimated before the age of 18;
- The country of citizenship of the father does not recognize any difference between legitimate or illegitimate (born out of wedlock); or
- The parent/child relationship was established before the child turned age 21.
The unclear or "gray" area here is what it means to "establish a relationship with a child." Because of this, the factors that evidence a father/child relationship will be looked at regardless of whether any legal proceedings were established. If the father did "the things that fathers do" for the child, proof of these things will be required to help prove this relationship existed. All kinds of factors including, but not limited to, the following are considered:
- Paying for food and shelter;
- Paying for school of any kind;
- Paying an allowance to the child;
- Setting up college funds;
- Providing some living expenses or arrangements for child; and/or
- Other things related thereto.
The above can provide a guide to use in examining your own situation for evidence that the father/child relationship exists. Needless to say, in many cases it is obvious. In others, the nature of this relationship is not clear and must be proven.
Adopted children are considered "children" within the meaning of the Green Card Petition [meaning the child is considered the child of the parent] if:
- The child has been adopted before the age of 16;
- The child has lived in the same household with the adopted parent for at least two years;
- The child has been in the custody of that adopted parent for two years.
Stepchildren are considered "children" for purposes of the Green Card Petition if they are less than 18 years old at the time of marriage between parent and stepparent.
A sibling (brother or sister) can be considered a "child" for Green Card Petition purposes under certain circumstances. Basically, it must be proved that at least one parent is common to the brother or sister and the US citizen who is Petitioning for a Green Card for that sibling. The US citizen must be more than 21 years of age to file a Petition for a Green Card for the sibling. Sometimes proving the common parent of the brother or sister and the US citizen can cause problems, so the Petitioner must take care to be sure the proof is in place and filed with the Petition.