I am a Lawful Permanent Resident and citizen of China. I would like my daughter to immigrate to the U.S. and join me. What are my options?

Question:  I am Lawful Permanent Resident and citizen of China. I married my U.S. citizen husband in 2007. Now, I would like to bring my daughter from China to the United States. My daughter is 28-years-old Chinese citizen who currently lives in China. How can I bring my daughter to the United States to live with me?

Answer: Thank you for your question. When determining immigration options for family members, there are several factors you must consider, such as your status, your family member’s age, and your family member’s country of citizenship. While I do not have enough information to provide a specific outline for your daughter, below I provides some information that I believe may be helpful.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, there are two basic categories: Immediate Relatives and Preference Immigrants. Immediate relatives is a term that includes the following relatives of U.S. citizens: (1) Spouses, (2) Minor unmarried children (under 21 years of age); and (3) Parents (provided the citizen petitioner is at lease 21 years of age), and (4) Spouses of deceased U.S. citizens who were married for at least two years at the time of their citizen spouses’ deaths are eligible for immigrant visa (under certain restrictions). In addition, the following groups are also not subject to direct numerical limitations: (1) a foreign national born after the issuance of an immediate relative or preference visa, but before the visa is used to apply for admission to the United States; and (2) a foreign national born to an LPR during a temporary visit abroad. Preference category immigrants are as follows:

  • First Preference: Unmarried sons or daughters or U.S. citizens (those who are 21 years of age or older).
  • Second Preference:
    • (2A) Spouses or children of foreign nationals lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
    •  (2B) Unmarried sons or daughters of foreign nationals lawfully admitted for permanent residence.
  • Third Preference: Married sons or daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Fourth Preference: Siblings of U.S. citizens, if the citizen is at least 21 years of age.

Unlike immediate relatives, family-sponsored preference categories are subject to a worldwide visa allocation system. To review the most updated information on this allocation system, the U.S. Department of States issues a monthly bulletin, referred to as the Visa Bulletin, outlining the availability of immigrant numbers.

The age of your child must also be evaluated when determining the appropriate category to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status. Pursuant to INA § 101(b)(1), the term “child” means an unmarried person under twenty-one years of age who is – (B) a stepchild, whether or not born out of wedlock, provided the child had not reached the age of eighteen years at the time the marriage creating the status of stepchild occurred.

Unfortunately, having only a limited amount of information, I cannot say for certain what category your daughter would qualify for. It appears however that based on your permanent resident status and her age and country of citizenship that she likely falls into the second preference (2B) category, unmarried daughter of a foreign national (you) admitted for permanent residence.

Please call my office to discuss your case in greater detail. In the meantime, you can find more information about family-based immigration by visiting my website at the following address: http://www.murchielaw.com/immigration-law/.