21st birthday won’t keep child of U.S. citizen from green card

21st birthday won’t keep child of U.S. citizen from green card

Q. My U.S. citizen father petitioned for me when I was under 21 and unmarried. We filed all the immigrant visa application papers but while waiting for my visa interview, I turned 21. I’m still unmarried. Will I be able to immigrate based on my father’s petition?

Name Withheld, Ghana

A. Despite your current age, you qualify for a green card as the unmarried child of a U.S. citizen. You qualify to immigrate as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, a category with no quota limitations. Under the Child Status Protection Act, the age of the unmarried child under 21 of a U.S. citizen is fixed on the day the parent filed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. So, for immigration purposes your age is still under 21.

Q. Customs and Border Protection caught my husband crossing the border from Mexico and sent him back. How can he get a green card so we can move to the United States?

I am a U.S. citizen. I married my husband here in 2011. He returned to his home in Mexico and in 2014 was caught trying to reenter the United States. CBP fingerprinted him and sent him back to Mexico. He told a CBP officer that immigration had caught him trying to enter once before, but the officer found no record of that event and that his record going forward would show only one arrest.

Lisa, Mexico

A. It appears that CBP sent your husband back under a procedure called “expedited removal.” Under that procedure, CBP may send a person back without a hearing if either he or she committed fraud or does not have the proper visa.

As someone removed through expedited removal, your husband must either wait five years before getting an immigrant visa or get USCIS to approve an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission, form I-212. Start the process by filing form I-130 for your husband.

Once USCIS approves the petition, he can submit form I-212 as part of the immigrant visa application process. Best if you can get expert help.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y., 10004 or email to Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

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21st birthday won’t keep child of U.S. citizen from green card

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