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I'm a U.S. citizen, my mother is not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for her even though she gave up custody? I'm 21yrs/o

New York, NY |

We are from the Caribbean. She gave up her custody to my uncle (a U.S. citizen) after my father passed when I was a child so that I could become a U.S. citizen (I don't think she fully understood the legal severity of this). Despite giving up custody to my uncle, my mother moved to the U.S and was able to find a job and raise me. My uncle did not play that much of a role other than the fact that he helped give me citizenship. It's really hard for me to settle with the fact that she is my mother, raised me like a mother but "legally" she is not. Now that I am an adult, are there any steps that I can take to help her regain the custody she gave up so that I can sponsor her? We both have never gotten into any trouble with the law.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Yes. You will have to prove that she is your mother, but you can file a relative petition on her behalf.

    Gunda J. Brost Brost Law Office This advice does not form an attorney-client relationship and is merely informative. It should not by itself be relied upon to address a legal concern.


  2. As long as you were not officially adopted, yes.

    The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter,not should it be viewed as establishing an attorney client relationship of any kind.


  3. You really need to consult with an attorney in person about this, with all of your documents, because if your uncle sponsored you for residence as his "child" then your mother did not just give up custody, but may have also terminated her parental rights so that you could be sponsored by your uncle, and if her parental rights were legally terminated so that you could obtain residence through someone else then you CANNOT file a petition for her.

    This is general information only. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice specific to your circumstances, you must consult an attorney in a confidential setting, not in an online forum.


  4. Well I think you can sponsor your biological mother; however, given the facts and circumstances I highly recommend that you seek proper professional consultation on the issue because immigration laws regarding custody and adoption are very complex.
    Best wishes,

    Note: Our main area of practice is U.S. Immigration Law with focus on Removal, Deportation, Asylum, Employment Visas, Non-immigrant Visas (H1B/L1/J1), Immigration Bond matters, Criminal Immigration and other complex Immigration matters and related Federal Court litigation. This communication, though, does not constitute “legal advice” nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.

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