All unmarried children over twenty-one are eligible to be petitioned by their US citizen or permanent resident relatives. None are considered immediate relatives and therefore go on a wait-list before they are eligible for permanent residence. If the beneficiary has children under twenty-one they might be able to obtain residence as well. Similar to all aliens on the preference wait-list, in order to obtain permanent residence in the United States, the foreign national and dependent children must not only have entered the United States legally but must also be in legal status at the time they become current; otherwise, they must go to a US Consulate to obtain residence. This involves risk, so eligibility for residence must be carefully evaluated. Married children over twenty-one cannot be petitioned by parents who are in permanent residence status; only those adult married children of US citizen are able to be petitioned.
If a child was petitioned by a permanent resident parent and the petitioner remains a resident, a marriage by the beneficiary will void the petition.
What if the child entered illegally or went out of status?
Children under the age of 18 do not accrue unlawful presence in the United States and thus are not subject to a bar from returning if they obtain residence at a US consulate overseas. For those children under 18 years old who are in the United States illegally or with an unlawful entry, they might obtain travel overseas and obtain residence at a US Consulate abroad up to 179 days after their 18th birthday, provided of course there are no additional grounds of inadmissibility.
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