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How to get permanent residence or citizenship if a child came to the US with a visa that is now expired.

Atlanta, GA |

I have a friend who has been in America since she was about 6 years old on a visa. Her visa has since expired and she is now 19/20 years old. Her parents are US citizens so I wanted to know what we could do to be able get her papers straighten up. Right now she is not able to obtain a state ID nor is she able to go to college. It's sad to watch because she has grown up here her whole entire life.

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Attorney answers 4


Need more facts to answer. What kind of visa was she on when she entered the US. Generally her parents can file for her using the I-130 and 1-485 together. It is best for them to bring all of their documentation to an experienced immigration attorney.

Alexus P. Sham (917) 498-9009. The above information is only general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.


If BOTH of her parents are US citizens, she probably is too.

The only sad thing here is the apparent fact that her parents haven't gotten her US passport sooner.

Talk to an immigration attorney immediately.

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. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.


The parents can file for her green card right now and quickly. The friend is also eligible for DACA but that does not lead to permanent residency. Perhaps a lawyer should be involved. The parents could have filed for their daughter a long time ago.

The answer provided here is general in nature and does not take into account other factors that may need to be reviewed for a more precise answer. You should consult with an immigration attorney before taking any action. The answer here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.


If she entered legally on a visa, hasn't left the country, doesn't have any adverse immigration or criminal history AND her parents actually are US citizens, then the process is relatively straightforward for them to petition on her behalf. If this is an option, it needs to be in process before she gets married and/or turns 21. If anything doesn't line up, then obviously it's more complicated.

In all honesty, unless she's estranged from her parents, this would be a pretty unusual fact pattern. If they are not citizens or there is some issue with parentage or some other twist, she might also be eligible for DACA (see my Guide on the subject if you are not already familiar). That would help her with a work permit, drivers license/ID and getting on with her life will this all get sorted.

This is not do-it-yourself territory--get her in to an experienced immigration attorney to understand her options before doing anything.

This answer provides only general information and may not be relied on as legal advice. For more information about immigration law and policy, please visit or follow us on twitter (@lauralichter) or facebook, www.facebook/lichterimmigration. To find an immigration lawyer in your area, log on to Listed attorneys have been members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the nation's premier bar association for immigration lawyers, for at least two years, comply with annual continuing legal education (CLE) requirements and carry malpractice insurance.