My Child is Now 21, Can They Petition Me?

Millions come to the U.S. every year for a better life for themselves, and their children.  Often, parents will not have proper immigration documents to remain in the U.S., while their children are born in the U.S. making them U.S. citizens.  Parents will often wait until their child turns 21 so that they could petition them for their lawful permanent residence.  For some, the process is quick and easy – the child petitions for them, and six months later, they become green card holders.  However, for others, this process can be quite difficult.

Generally, to be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence, you need to have a petitioner and have a visa available to you.  Also, an alien must not be inadmissible for any reason.  The laws state that certain aliens are inadmissible if they fall under certain categories.  For example, any alien who misrepresented a material fact to obtain immigration benefits is considered inadmissible.  Using an assumed name to enter the U.S. would fall under this category of inadmissibility.  Another category of inadmissibility involves certain aliens that have committed certain crimes involving moral turpitude.  A conviction for controlled substance possession or a conviction for domestic violence could fall under this category of inadmissibility, depending on the state of conviction and the penal code.  Unlawful presence in the U.S. is also a common category of inadmissibility.

Fortunately, the law also allows waivers to certain categories of inadmissibility, including those discussed above.  In order to be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility, the applicant must show that their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, fiancé, or parent will suffer extreme hardship if the applicant cannot remain in or come to the U.S.  Notice that the waiver does not consider hardship to a U.S. citizen child.  As in, parents that do not have any U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family in the U.S. other than their children, do not qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility!  Hopefully, no grounds of inadmissibility apply to you and you can have your child petition you.  However, for others, even after many years of waiting for their children to turn 21, they may still not be eligible to become lawful permanent residents due to needing a waiver and not having a qualifying relative for it.

The waiver process can be complicated, so speak with a knowledgeable attorney to prepare the best case for you.