You are currently viewing Can a US citizen sponsor a child over 21?

Here you will find the answers you are looking for if you ask yourself: Can a US citizen sponsor a child over 21?. We have more than 40 years of professional practice with excellent results for our clients in each case we work with.


Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers guide you through the entire process to make sure you get it right. 

If you call now you will get a consultation without obligation for you in which we will analyze your case. We will tell you which are the best options available.

What is the process for a US citizen to sponsor a child over 21 in 2021?

The procedure for a US citizen over the age of 21 to ask for his or her adult child is similar to that of other relatives. 

At Lluis Law we specialize in all types of family based immigration application. Including:

Other family members may be included in the Green Card petition for a child of legal age. That is, the spouse of the American citizen’s child and their children.

petition for children of legal age

The process involves several steps that we mention below: 

  • File Form I-130 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Make sure it is filled out and signed correctly, including the names and personal details of the eldest son’s spouse and children. 
  • Pay the $ 535 fee, plus $ 85 for biometrics. 
  • Attach supporting documents along with sponsor’s evidence of U.S. citizenship:
    • Copy of valid US passport;
    • Copy of the US birth certificate; 
    • Copy of a Consular Report related to the birth abroad; 
    • Copy of the naturalization certificate; or
    • Copy of the citizenship certificate.
  • Add the birth certificate of the eldest child and the marriage certificate where the parents are mentioned. In case of divorce and annulment of marriage, include a copy of the certificate as well.

How to ask an older child who already lives in the United States?

The family reunification petition for a child already living in the US is processed with the I-130 form as well.

In addition, the child over the age of 21 must file Form I-485, Record of Permanent Residence or Adjustment of Status. Only when an immigrant visa is available.

If the child lives abroad, the US citizen must file the I-130 form. When the petition is approved and an immigrant visa number is available USCIS does not refer to the National Visa Center (CNV).

This body of the Department of State in turn processes the case and refers it to the respective consulate or embassy. 

Who qualifies for a category F1 or FB2 visa?

Children of US citizens born abroad who qualify for this visa category are:

  • Natural children born in marriage.
  • Natural children born to unmarried parents. In this case, the legitimacy of the child must be demonstrated or that there was a genuine parent-child relationship.
  • Stepchildren before their 18th birthday as long as the parents are married. 

What happens after USCIS approves the petition?

If the eldest son’s petition is approved by USCIS, the case is sent to the National Visa Center (CNV) . The agency notifies the petitioner through the Approval Notice (I-797).

You will need to wait for the NVC to process the United States visa application for the oldest child and a visa number is available, depending on the priority date . This type of visa will be processed under category F1.

Before starting the process, it is advisable to consult a good immigration lawyer to carry out the process correctly. When there is a visa number available, the NVC notifies the petitioner to continue with the process that includes:   

  • State Department Affidavit of Support (AOS).
  • Fill out, sign and submit the application forms.
  • Attach civil and other required documents.

What if I asked for my oldest son when I was LPR but now I am a citizen? 

If the petition for the oldest, unmarried, and 21-year-old son is still in process, the NVC changes the visa category. This will go from second family preference (F2B) to first family preference (F1). 

However, it is optional for those who apply to take advantage of the rule of law “to opt out” (“Opt-Out”). In this way, the applicant will remain in the current visa category (F2B). 

Sometimes lawyers recommend it, because it can shorten your waiting time. The delay of the F2B visa category is less than the F1 visa category

When obtaining naturalization and becoming a US citizen, it is advisable to consult the Visa Bulletin. This will help you determine whether it is better for your single adult child to remain in the F2B category or not. 

What to do if you do not want to change the F2B visa category?

The priority date for petitions in the F2B visa category is maintained by switching to the F1 category. Those who choose to maintain their current FB2 visa category must do the following: 

If the case is filed with the NVC, they must send the requests through the online consultation form . This NVC application forwards it to the USCIS and changes the category to F2B, once the USCIS approves it. 

If the case is at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad, change the procedure. The consulate must be asked to submit an application on your behalf. The F2B visa category will remain only that is approved by the USCIS. 

The application process for an immigrant visa of categories F2B and F1 is similar. Those who apply must:

  • Pay the corresponding fees.
  • Complete the visa application, sign and send it.

The only thing that changes is when the priority date changes to “current”. The consular officer then adjudicates and issues the immigrant visa.

How long does it take to sponsor a child over 21 years of age for a US citizen?

To find out the NVC processing times, you must access the Department of State website. Once there, with the case number assigned by USCIS when it approves the application, you can make the respective query.

This process can take 10-20 years, based on current processing times. Regardless, you should consult the State Department Visa Bulletin to find out about your visa category.

Only 23,400 green cards are issued annually for this category of family visa.

What happens if the child’s visa petition was filed before he was 21 but he reached the age of majority during the process?

For those who turn 21 years of age before obtaining the Green Card, the following occurs:

  • The child will go from the F2A visa category to the F2B visa automatically, which will delay the process a little more.
  • The good news is that you do not need to apply for a visa again.

What if the son / daughter lives illegally in the US?

All people living illegally in the United States accumulate “illegal presence”. The sanction established by law is to declare the foreigner inadmissible and ineligible to qualify for any immigration benefit.

The penalty of three or 10 years is likely to be imposed in this case. To avoid this, the immigration lawyer could recommend the application for an I-608 waiver.

If this is your case and you need our legal assistance, please make an appointment with us right now. You will not have to pay anything during the initial consultation.


Can a US citizen sponsor a child over 21?” Yes, Then contact us. Remember that the first informative consultation with our lawyers is without obligation. We can and we know how to help you!