Can Your Child Be Considered a Derivative on Your Immigration Petition?

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Children who meet certain requirements might qualify to immigrate to the United States as derivatives. As a derivative, the child would be included on the parent's immigration petition and could legally enter the country without the need to submit a separate application for him or her. If you want to bring your children to the country as a derivative, here is what you need to know.  

Is Your Child a Derivative Beneficiary?

There are two types of derivatives in immigration law. A lead beneficiary occurs when you opt to file a petition for your child even though he or she could be included on your application. If you are choosing to include your child on your visa application, he or she would be considered a derivative beneficiary.  

If you plan to apply for your child's visa separately from yours, then you need to ensure you have a sponsor for him or her. A sponsor could be a family member, such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent.  

However, if you opt for the derivative beneficiary status, your child will not need a separate sponsor from yours. He or she would be essentially piggybacking off your application. In essence, whoever sponsored your petition is also sponsoring your child's. 

What Are the Requirements for Derivative Beneficiary?

Derivative beneficiary status is only available for certain types of visas. If the visa application requires that the sponsor be an immediate parent for a child under the age of 21, you cannot opt for the status. However, there are many other types of green cards and visas you can apply for.  

In addition to selecting the right visa, you have to ensure your child meets the definition of a qualifying child. Your child has to be under 21 years of age and unmarried. For immigration purposes, you can apply for the status for step-children and adopted children, too. 

It is important to note that if your child is near the age limit, it is possible that the application might not be processed before he or she turns 21. In that instance, you would have to explore other options for bringing your child to the country.  

Talk to an immigration attorney about the derivative status and other concerns that you might have. The attorney can review the current immigration laws to determine if they will impact you or your child's status and help you plan ahead for it.