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How to quickly bring an adult grandchild of a permanent resident to the United States

By Atty. Paul Choi

Paul Choi is an immigration attorney practicing in Encino, California. As a public service, he will answer all questions regarding immigration and naturalization for free either by mail, email at pchoi@pchoilaw.com, on the phone, or in person or you may contact his administrator, Philip Abramowitz at 818 714-2226, or pabramowitz@pchoilaw.com.  The following is one such question and the answer by Mr. Choi.

Question:  I am a permanent resident of the U.S.  I petitioned for my unmarried daughter 8 years ago and she will be ready to immigrate from the Philippines soon because the quota is almost open.  She has a 20 year old daughter even though she is unmarried.  I want to bring my granddaughter along with my daughter but I am worried that she will turn 21 before she can come with my daughter.  What will happen if she turns 21 before she can come here?  Will she be left out?  How long will it take to bring her here then if she is already too old.?

Answer:  You raise an issue that is not uncommon but many people, even experienced immigration attorneys do not know the proper solution to the problem.  Often times it happens that a permanent resident of the United States petitions for an unmarried child who is waiting for years abroad in order to come here.  With the Second Preference quota for many countries backlogged several years and for the Philippines backlogged ten years, it, no doubt, takes a long time to bring an adult son or daughter to the U.S.  Since children of greencard holders must be single in order to immigrate, they avoid getting married at all costs to preserve their immigration case. However, sometimes this does not prevent them from having children.

Fortunately, children of unmarried sons or daughters of permanent residents can come with their parents when it is time to immigrate as accompanying beneficiaries of their parents’ petitions.  So, when a lawful permanent resident petitions for a son or daughter, that son or daughter is permitted to bring his or her children to the U.S. at the same time provided the children are under 21 years of age.   This means with just one petition, a lawful permanent resident can not only immigrate a son or daughter, he can also immigrate his grandchildren at the same time automatically.

The problem arises when these grandchildren of permanent residents turn 21 before they can enter the U.S.  If this occurs, the grandchildren are said to “age out.” In other words, they are too old to accompany their parents who are immigrating to the U.S.  The Child Status Protection Act, lets the grandchildren come to the U.S. even if they are over 21 provided the Immigration Service took a long time to approve the I-130 immigrant visa petition.  For every day that the USCIS took to approve the visa petition, the grandchild is provided one additional day after his or her twenty first birthday to come to the U.S.  So, for example, if the USCIS took a year to approve the grandparent’s I-130 petition for their adult child, the grandchild would not effectively age out until he or she turned 22 years of age.

But what happens if tragedy strikes and the Child Status Protection Act does not help?  The grandchild turned 21 and is aged out. What can you do to bring the grandchild here quickly?

There is a little used section of the Immigration Service regulations that permits a grandchild of a permanent resident who has aged out to be petitioned by his parent who is now an immigrant and permits that parent to backdate the new petition to the date that grandparents first filed their petition for the grandchild’s parent.  This means that the parent of the left out grandchild can step to the front of the line and immigrate the grandchild in just a matter of months.  This little known secret can actually shave ten years of more off the waiting time for the grandchild to come to the U.S.

The problem is, if you do not know the “secret” law and don’t specifically ask for it, the USCIS will not give you the gift of fast permanent residence.   When filing for your aged out child, you have to specifically request that your petition be backdated to the time that your parents petitioned you.  If you make this request, your child can come to this country in no time, saving you and your child years and years of wating.   Not a bad little secret to know.  Well now you know the secret. Take advantage of it and don’t let your adult son or daughter be left behind.


Atty Paul Choi will answer all questions regarding immigration, naturalization and deportation defense for FREE. Contact him at pchoi@pchoilaw.com or at 818 714-2226. He is located at 16000 Ventura Blvd, Ste. 1201, Encino, California 91436.

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