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Who is Considered to be a “Child” in the Immigration Process?

The age and marital status of your children are important factors in the immigration process. For immigration purposes, a “child” is defined as being unmarried and under 21, whereas a “son” or “daughter” is defined as being married and/or 21 or over.

For immigration purposes, a child can be any of the following:

  • A biological child born in wedlock

  • A biological child born out of wedlock:

  • If the mother is petitioning, no legitimation is required. If the father is petitioning, legitimation is required in accordance with the laws of the father or child’s place of residence. If the father is petitioning and the relationship is not legitimated under applicable laws, a bona fide parent-child relationship must be shown to have existed prior to the child’s 21st birthday and while the child was unmarried.

  • A step-child, as long as the marriage creating the step-relationship occurred before the child turned 18

  • An adopted child if the child was adopted prior to age 16 (one exception is if siblings are adopted, as long as one was under 16, the other could be older than 16 but younger than 18), AND the adopted child has resided in the legal and physical custody of the adoptive parent for 2 years prior to filing (the legal and physical custody do not have to be the same time period, but each must be met for 2 years).

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