ALLAN WERNICK: Stepparents can petition for their stepkids to get a green card

January 27, 2020

Q. Can my son’s stepmother petition for him to get a green card? My son is 15. He was born in Mexico and now he is here legally as an H-4, child of a temporary worker. Seven years ago, his father married a U.S. citizen. His father and stepmother live in Arizona and he lives with me in Texas. If his stepmother can petition for him, where do we file his papers?

Helen Camacho, Dallas

A. Your son’s stepmother can petition for a green card for him. Since your son came here legally, he can file his application for permanent residence together with a family petition signed by his stepmother. His stepmother must sign a completed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative along with USCIS form I-864, Affidavit of Support. Your son files those forms with USCIS form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. He sends the package to USCIS, P.O. Box 805887, Chicago, IL 60680-4120.

U.S. immigration law recognizes a parent/child relationship between a stepchild and stepparent. That’s true if the marriage between the biological parent and the stepparent takes place before the child turns 18; immigration law allows your son to be treated as his stepmother’s child. As a child under 21 who entered legally, he can get his green card without leaving the United States, a process called “adjustment of status.”

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