You cannot add this person or her child as a dependent for purposes of taxes if you are not yet married to her. You need to discuss this in more detail with an immigration attorney and possibly also a tax attorney.
I will send this question to the immigration lawyers.
If you are married and have children, you can include these qualified dependents on your Individual Tax Return. From an immigration standpoint, you cannot petition for your spouse and children or step children until you have been married. After you are married, if they are not yet in the USA, or if they are not yet Legal Permanent Residents, you should contact an accountant or other tax professional, because there are certain requirements to obtain Taxpayer Identification Numbers for relatives not yet resident in the USA.
Bringing your spouse to the USA takes time and there's quite a bit of paperwork. Broadly speaking, A US citizen married to a foreigner has the right to petition to allow that foreigner to permanently reside in the USA. The I-130 Family Petition can be done OUTside the USA, if the US citizen lives abroad; otherwise, it must be done INside the USA, in the region where the US citizen lives.
After the I-130 is approved, the foreigner may have the option to process for the legal permanent resident (LPR) status (the so-called “green” card) in the USA; this is called Adjustment of Status. NOT ALL FOREIGNERS WILL QUALIFY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS. If the foreigner is outside the USA, then the LPR status would be processed at a US Consulate-General in the country where the foreigner lives; this is the typical way such applications are processed.
I hope this helps. Best of luck.
I must remind you that although I am an attorney, I am not YOUR attorney. The information I am providing you is general information about the law. If you would like specific information or advice, I am going to suggest that you make an appointment to come in, or call, to chat with us.
A joint return generally cannot be filed if either spouse is a nonresident alien at any time during the tax year. However, if one spouse was a nonresident alien or dual-status alien who was married to a U.S. citizen or resident alien at the end of the year, the spouses can choose to file a joint return. If you do file a joint return, you and your spouse are both treated as U.S. residents for the entire tax year. So if you file joint return you will be able to claim your step-child as a dependent.
Disclaimer of California Attorney. Laws differ from state to state. Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract. Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan. Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA Attorney-At-Law 17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43 Artesia, CA 90701 562-924-8922 Tax Relief Lawyer. Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns, Homeowner Association Strategist.