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Can a US citizen adopt a 19 year-old legal immigrant in the state of Georgia?

Canton, GA |

He has lived here since he was 7 under his father's work visa, but his parents kicked him out when he was 17 and have since returned to the UK. He was told that he is still here legally. He has thought of me as his mom for the past year, and we would like to make it official. Do we have any options?

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

I agree with my colleagues’ answers that it sounds like what you are asking about is an adult adoption. It is perfectly natural to want to seek to legalize an emotional attachment to an adult in your life and Georgia has a statute that specifically provides for adult adoptions. However, I also agree with my colleagues that it sounds like he has some unresolved immigration issues that need to be addressed as well. Unfortunately, your adopted son would not be able to gain any immigration benefit from the adoption because if you adopt a child past when the child turns 16, you will not be able to petition for immigration benefits for him based on the adoption. There is one exception to this rule, which is that if you are adopting a sibling group, and one is below 16 and the other is over 16 but under 18, then you would be able to petition for immigration benefits for both children. However, it sounds like he is already over 18 and does not have a sibling you are seeking to adopt. Therefore, I would recommend that you speak to an experienced attorney with both immigration and adoption experience as there may be other immigration relief available to him, such as DACA.

If you would like to discuss the process in detail, my office would be happy to talk with you. We are located in Marietta, Georgia and concentrate on immigration and adoption. We regularly give guidance on this type of case, and we offer free 15 minute consultations to potential clients. You can also find a list of other experienced immigration attorneys through and other Georgia adoption attorneys through

Good luck!
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Adopt? Yes

Will it help with immigration? No

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


Georgia law does allow adult adoptions. See an adoption attorney in your area.

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He will not obtain any immigration benefit from it. Who told him he still has a legal status? If so what status. I would be surprised if he has a legal status from the facts you gave. He may qualify for deferred action for childhood arrivals. My firm handles such cases throughout the US.
Nicklaus Misiti
Law Offices of Nicklaus Misiti
212 537 4407

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I agree that adoption is possible in these circumstances. Compared to other types of adoption, adult adoption is much less complicated. That said, I agree with Jessica that there may be unresolved immigration to address, and adoption will not "fix" those issue.

I highly recommend that you consult with an attorney with both immigration and Georgia adoption expertise. You can find a list of experienced attorneys at the website for the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers.

The information contained in this response is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Neither Neal & Wright LLC nor its attorneys have created an attorney-client relationship with you by responding to your question. The attorneys of Neal & Wright LLC ethically cannot agree to represent you until confirming that there are no conflicts of interest and obtaining information about the specific facts of your case.


As the others have stated, an adult adoption is pretty straightforward, but would not affect his immigration status. The only hurdle I foresee is that you would need to get a copy of his birth certificate to complete the adoption, which may or may not be an issue.

The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation