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What age is a person considered a child per immigration laws?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Immigration

Immigrants in California and elsewhere often wish to bring their children with them regardless of their age. However, there are specifications about what age is considered a child under immigration laws.

Age limits for children versus adults

Immigrants seeking family visas for their children to enter the United States must know the age limit for children versus adults. According to U.S. immigration laws, an unmarried individual younger than 21-years-old is a child, and those aged 21 and up are adults.

As a result of these laws, the criteria differs between adults and children for obtaining a visa. Adults may be able to qualify for visas, but it may take longer than obtaining one for a child.

The visa process often takes a few years. To get a family visa as a child, the person must be under 21-years-old, but if they reach adulthood before the visa gets approved, issues could arise. However, there’s a law known as the Child Status Protection Act, which can help those over 21-years-old to qualify for such visas.

Married foreigners under 21-years-old

When a foreign parent petitions to have their child enter the country on a family visa, that child must not only be younger than 21, they must also be unmarried. In some cases, married individuals may qualify for a visa, but it doesn’t carry the same favored status as unmarried children under 21, so approval could take years.

If an immigrant living in the country wants to bring their child over with them, the family visa they would need to apply for is the IR-2 child visa, also known as a Child Green Card, but they can only do so if the child meets certain criteria.