How do I adopt my Chinese-born wife’s 23 year old unmarried daughter so that she can become American citizen?

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How do I adopt my Chinese-born wife’s 23 year old unmarried daughter so that she can become American citizen?

My wife got marriage visa approval and will move to US to live with me in 2016. Her daughter has lived with me for over one year now while on an F-1 student visa. Is adoption a good way to keep her in the US with us?

Asked on December 10, 2015 under Immigration Law, California

Answers:

SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you cannot adopt her for immigration purposes because for that she would have had to be adopted before she was 16.  It is unfortunate that you did not seek legal advice for this sooner or if you did perhaps you did not receive correct information but if you had petitioned for your wife as a fiancee while her daughter was under 21, the daughter would have qualified for the green card as the minor child of a fiancee.  However, now that she is over the age of 21, that is not going to be possible.  The mother will need to petition for her daughter once she is in the US as a green card holder and that process will take several years.  In the alternative, once the daughter receives her degree and gets a job, she can be sponsored for her green card by her future employer.


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