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I do not have a green card or LPR status and have lived in the US since I was two, what should I do to become documented?

Fremont, CA |

I was born in the Philippines in 1984 and adopted by US Citizens shortly after. At the age of 2, I immigrated to the US and have been here ever since. Because my parents are citizens, I was under the impression that I acquired citizenship through them. However, I recently applied for a US passport and the agency requested documentation of a green card, but I have never had one. It turns out my parents never applied for a green card for me. Since I do not have a green card or LPR status with the USCIS, I cannot claim citizenship through my adopted parents, even though I have all other paperwork: adoption decree, amended birth record, SSN, etc. My question now is where do I start in order to become documented? Do I have to get a green card first, then get naturalized? Please help!

Attorney Answers 5

  1. Best answer

    It is a little puzzling how your parents got you into the U.S. if you did not have an immigrant visa. I think you should do a FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) to take a look at your immigration records, just to be safe.

    It seems like you would qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals, assuming you graduated high school (you could also just enroll in a GED program). That would give you a work permit and driver's license, and possibly allow you to travel internationally.

    Your parents can file an I-130 visa petition for you to sponsor you for a green card. However, there is quite a long wait for the adult children of people originally from the Philippines.

  2. Your situation is complicated, but you can apply for proof of citizenship. Find an experienced immigration attorney to help you.

    Andrew M. Bramante, Rosner Partners, 216-771-5588. Free telephone consultation. You should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney to make certain that the advice you received is appropriate for your particular immigration case.

  3. You and your parents need to retain an experienced immigration attorney. Yes, a green card is a requirement before you can apply for naturalization.

    J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

  4. Questions involving permanent residency or citizenship through adoption can get very complicated. I recommend that you have your case fully evaluated by an immigration attorney. I am an immigration and adoption attorney. If you have any questions, I will be glad to discuss this with you.

    C.J. Lyford

    The above is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

  5. Consult an attorney, issues of citizenship are very very complicated!

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