Do you have family members outside the US and wish to help them immigrate? You can do that if you are a lawful permanent resident/citizen of the US. The process involves two steps. You need to start by filing a petition on behalf of a family member. Upon approval, the relative needs to obtain an immigrant visa.

However, did you know that special rules apply to different people you may bring in with you? You can help your spouse, child, or parents immigrate, but the rules defining each category are clear. This article tells you the brief procedure for immigrant visa petitions for biological children and those born out of wedlock.

Who is a ‘Child’?

When it comes to visa work, the term ‘child’ has a unique, legal meaning. An individual needs to meet the following criteria to be termed a child. They are:

  1. The person must be unmarried and should be aged below 21 years.
  2. An individual who is widowed or divorced at the time of application for a visa is considered unmarried. For instance, a married 19-year-old daughter will not be considered a child, while a 19-year-old divorced daughter will be regarded as one.

  3. The individual must have a child-parent relationship that CIS recognizes.

Biological children are considered ‘children’ under the immigration laws of the US and face no issues while filing a visa petition. However, other children, such as adopted children, stepchildren, adopted orphans, and children born out of wedlock, may also be recognized as ‘children.’ But they should satisfy specific requirements.

Let us take a look at these additional requirements for children born out of wedlock.

Children born out of wedlock

Historically, those children born out of wedlock have been considered ‘illegitimate’ by the authorities if their parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth. Such children can immigrate through their mother without any difficulty.

In case they try to immigrate through their father, the family should take care of meeting a few conditions. The family has to prove that the father has a legitimate parental relationship with the child (before he/she reaches 21 years of age).

One way to prove this is by showing that the father has shown real concern for the child’s support, instruction, and general welfare. In addition to this, the family should submit proof that the father is the natural/biological father.

Summing up

While some countries have passed laws that eliminate any discrimination between biological children and those born out of wedlock, a marriage of the respective parents is still crucial for the child to be termed ‘legally legitimate.’ If you must rely on a foreign country’s laws on ‘legitimization,’ we suggest you research the subject well. It is crucial to be extremely familiar with the inside and out of the rules. You could also consult an expert in the respective country’s laws and regulations.