If I am a US citizen, can I sponsor my illegal son who is over 21 for a green card?

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If I am a US citizen, can I sponsor my illegal son who is over 21 for a green card?

Asked on January 25, 2012 under Immigration Law, New York

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can petition for your son but he will not be able to legalize his status within the US.  When the priority date becomes current (and that may be another 4-6 years or even longer, depending on the country of his birth) he would need to go back to his home country to consular process his visa but departing the US will cause him to trigger an automatic 10 year bar to reentry, which can only be waived by a showing of extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse, and this is fairly difficult to do in most cases.  It is unclear to me how you could have become a US citizen and never petitioned your son for permanent residence while he was still under 21 and not subject to the 10 year bar if deparing the US.


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