Stepchildren of lawful permanent residents of the United States may be able to come to the country as well. There is no requirement that the stepparents adopt them to be able to obtain a visa, which makes it easier in cases where a stepparent adoption is not possible.
If you come to the United States and are a lawful permanent resident, you can petition for your stepchild to come to the country as long as you married their parent prior to their 18th birthday. You’ll use Form I-130, which is a petition for an alien relative, to bring your stepchild to the USA.
Can your stepchild have their status adjusted if they are already in the United States?
Yes. If they are already in the United States, they can have their immigration status updated to a lawful permanent residency once the I-130 form is approved. To do this, you’ll need to file Form I-485, which is an application to adjust status.
If you adopt your stepchild, can they come to the United States as a resident?
Not automatically. Adoption doesn’t pass on any immigration status parents hold. Instead, you will need to petition for your stepchild to come to the U.S. as stated above.
Can your stepchild get citizenship through a U.S. citizen stepparent?
No, your stepchild cannot get citizenship through you if you are their stepparent, even if you are a citizen. However, if you do adopt your stepchild, then you may be able to acquire citizenship for them. Stepchildren cannot obtain citizenship through you, but they may be able to through their biological parent’s citizenship or if they apply for naturalization when they are eligible. If you want to file to obtain citizenship for your stepchild who you’ve adopted, you may file Form N-600. For naturalization, you can use Form N-400.
The legal process can be complex
It can be tricky to figure out how to obtain citizenship or legal permanent residency for a stepchild or adopted child in some cases. You should go over your legal rights first, and then you can determine the correct pathway toward citizenship or naturalization.