Immigration Attorney in Los Angeles - Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident Through US Citizen Child

Can You Become a Lawful Permanent Resident Through Your US Citizen Child?

This post is also available in: English

So, you think you can become a U.S. resident because your child is a U.S. citizen? Not so fast! Before you file any paperwork, be sure that you understand the entire process and all the requirements involved. 

If you have a U.S. citizen child who is 21 years old or older, this relationship does qualify your child to file a I-130 family-based petition.. But, having a qualifying relationship is by far not the only thing you need to qualify for a family-based green card

Green card applicants must also meet a set of requirements that deems them “admissible to the United States.” If you apply and you do not meet these requirements—if it’s determined that you are inadmissible to the United States—then you could face serious consequences. The worst one? A permanent bar from entering the country. 

Before you file any paperwork, it’s extremely important to understand all the requirements and potential consequences. 

Do You Really Qualify for a Green Card?

Qualifying for U.S. permanent residency is really a two-step process. Step one is a qualifying relationship for a family-based petition. Your son or daughter is a U.S. citizen 21 years of age or older? Great! You meet the requirement for step one. 

Step two is determining if you are admissible. To talk about this, let’s flip the question. What makes a person inadmissible to the United States

There are many ways a person can be inadmissible, so many in fact that you’d need a firm understanding of immigration law to know them all. Inadmissability is a very complex area of immigration law and even if you think you are not inadmissible, you should definitely speak to an immigration attorney before starting any paperwork. That being said, here are some common reasons a person would be determined inadmissible:

  • A criminal history with crimes involving violence, theft, or abuse
  • Violations of immigration law (including false claim to US citizenship which could result in a permanent bar)
  • Communicable diseases like tuberculosis
  • Mental disorders that could cause you to harm yourself or others
  • Drug abusers
  • Drug traffickers
  • A history of prostitution
  • Involvement in a terrorist organization or gang
  • Members of the Nazi party
  • People likely to become dependent on the U.S. government due to financial instability

A Common Scenario  

A common scenario for parents of U.S. citizen children is that leaving the country for their interview would trigger an unlawful presence bar. This bar is triggered when a person who entered the U.S. without inspection, accumulates 6 months to a year, or more than one year of unlawful presence, and then leaves the country. 

The 3-Year and 10-Year Bar 

A three-year bar occurs if the person spent more than six months but less than one year in the United States without legal status after having entered without inspection. A 10-year bar occurs if a person was unlawfully present for more than one year after having entered without inspection. 

What often happens is that this person leaves the U.S. to attend their visa interview in their home country thinking that they will only be gone a few weeks. Then, when they attend the visa interview, their immigrant visa is denied and only then do they learn of the 3-year or 10-year bar that was triggered when they left the United States to go to their interview.  This is a tragic occurrence for many families. 

The Waiver that Can Help You Avoid Being Barred from Entry to the U.S.   

There is a provisional waiver (I-601A) that if granted waives the 3-year or 10-year bar prior to leaving the U.S. for an immigrant visa interview. To qualify, the intending immigrant must have a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Spouse or Parent. Thus, unless they have a family member who qualifies them, parents immigrating through their U.S. citizen children do not qualify for this waiver.

Immigration Help 

If you have any questions about your visa application, I am happy to help. I’m Sharon Abaud, a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Call (310) 803-3040 or visit to schedule an appointment.

Sharon is an amazing immigration lawyer.

Sharon is an amazing immigration lawyer. I had her help me out with a couple of immigration issues. A couple of friends of mine have been able to establish residency because of her. She is very affordable and offers an incredible service to all of her clients. I'd recommend her to everybody!

Esteban , Los Angeles, CA

About the Author Sharon Abaud, Esq.

If you have any questions about your Immigration Status, I'd be happy to help. I’m a dedicated and passionate immigration attorney, fluent in English and Spanish, located in the Los Angeles area. Your immigration case matters to me.

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