How to Ensure Your Children Can Immigrate to the United States Safely

There are many legal options available for foreign citizens to immigrate to the United States. There is an immigration process for employment, family unification, investor activity, refugees, and asylum seekers. 

One of the major benefits of living in the United States is that it is possible to bring your children who were born abroad into the country with you as permanent residents. Although not all parents find themselves able to do this, there are several ways that they may be able to bring their kids over after they have become part of life here in America.

You can always consult with your immigration lawyer about your choices beforehand. The U.S. Immigration law has several different ways for U.S. citizens to bring their family members to immigrate to the United States, which are listed below:

  • Family-Based Immigrant Visa Petitions – This includes petitions by U.S. citizens or nationals for spouses, children, brothers and sisters, fiancés/fiancées of U.S. citizens, or lawful permanent residents (LPRs).
  • Special Immigrants – The application process for Special Immigrant status is complex and is based on the category of special immigrants. Some common examples of special immigrants are religious workers, former U.S. government employees, NATO-6 employees, physicians in medically underserved areas, Iraqi and Afghan translators, or other specified categories.
  • Diversity Visa Lottery – A program that makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – A temporary immigration status granted to eligible nationals of designated countries who are unable to return to their country safely because of ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances.
  • Asylum – Protection granted to an alien who is already in the United States or at a port of entry, or to an alien who is seeking admission, because the alien has been persecuted or has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
  • Deferred Action – The Secretary of Homeland Security may, in his discretion, “defer” any action against aliens who are temporarily unable to safely return home because of persecution or a natural disaster.
  • Family Unity – These provisions were established with the intent to allow U.S. citizens and LPRs who have family members that are either lawfully admitted or unlawfully present to request Deferred Action for up to three years.
  • Battered Spouse or Child Waivers – The spouse or child of an abusive citizen/LPR will be granted protection from removal even though they may not meet all requirements for adjustment of status. 
  • Humanitarian Parole – This is for people coming into the United States on humanitarian grounds so their immediate relatives can join them in the United States. 
  • Cuban/Haitian Entrants, Parolees, and Trafficking Victims – These special provisions provide a path to permanent residency for Cubans and Haitians who have been paroled into the United States or granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Legalization Dependents – Spouses and children legalized as a result of an alien’s legalization are given benefits under section 245(i) of the INA even if they did not file or have their petitions approved before April 30, 2001.
  • LIFE Act – This is a special one-time legalization program that provides undocumented aliens who had already applied for legal immigration status under IRCA an opportunity to adjust their status even if they missed the application date deadline. 
  • Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA) – This act is similar to NACARA except that it only applies to Haitians who entered the United States before January 1st, 2000.
  • Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (VTVPA) – VTVPA allows spouses, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under the age of 18 who are victims of severe forms of trafficking to be eligible for benefits as T Visas. 
  • Cuban Adjustment Act – The Cuban Adjustment Act allows Cubans who are present in the United States to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident after being in the country for one year and having been inspected and admitted or paroled into the US.
  • 30) Special Registration – This program applies to nationals of specific countries (currently Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan Libya, Somalia, and Yemen) who are required to undergo extra security checks and be fingerprinted and photographed when they enter the United States.

Many different immigration laws  to different situations, which can be confusing for those looking to immigrate to the United States. It is important to seek the help of an immigration attorney who can help guide you through the process and advise you on which laws Apply for US Permanent Residency to your specific situation. 

Several immigration law firms specialize in helping immigrants with their applications. Don’t try to go through this process alone – get help from the professionals!

Programs That Can Help With Immigration for Children

If you’re an undocumented immigrant living in the United States, there are a few programs that may be available to you: 

  1. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before the age of 16 and have been living in the country since 2007 to apply for a two-year renewable work permit. 
  2. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program provides temporary relief from deportation and allows nationals of certain countries (currently El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) to live and work in the United States. 
  3. The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program is currently on hold due to a lawsuit filed by 26 states. DAPA would allow certain parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have been in the United States since 2010 to apply for a three-year renewable work permit.

How the Family Unity Visa Works

A first step that must be taken by any parent looking into bringing their children into the US after moving over themselves is an application for what is called a “family unity visa”. This type of visa is appropriate for people who have been living in the US without proper documentation and it will allow qualifying family members to join them. 

Once the family unity visa has been obtained, the next step is usually to apply for permanent residency. This application can be made either while still in your home country or after you have arrived in the United States. If you are already living in the States with a valid visa, you may be able to simply file an adjustment of status application. 

If your children are not accompanying you when you initially immigrate to America, there are other ways for them to come over. One option is for parents to file what is called an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. 

This petition must be filed by the US Citizen’s parent and must include evidence that they have been living in America for at least a year and that the child’s other parent is either not living or cannot be located. Once this petition has been filed, you will need to go through a series of interviews and background checks. 

If all goes well with the process, your children may enter to Immigrate to the United States as full-fledged immigrants after going through an interview process that assesses their eligibility to come here. Your kids will enjoy many benefits including access to public schools and universities, along with other government services such as subsidized health care.

Considerations When Hiring Immigration Attorneys for Children to Immigrate to the United States

Recently there has been a surge of immigration cases involving children who are not United States citizens but have been born in the U.S. In many cases, the parents cannot afford to hire immigration lawyers or pay large amounts of money to file paperwork, or get information from government agencies and departments to obtain citizenship for their children. 

This can be a very expensive and time-consuming process with no guarantees that it will be successful and in some cases even if they win they may still lose because of legal fees and other associated costs.

It is important to remember that hiring immigration attorneys is not a guarantee that your child will be granted citizenship, but it greatly increases the chances of success. The process can be very daunting and complicated, especially if you are not familiar with U.S. immigration law, so it is important to have someone who can guide you through every step and help make sure everything is done correctly. 

The cost of hiring an attorney may seem expensive upfront, but it is a small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars you could end up spending if you try to go through the process on your own and make mistakes.

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