Permanent Resident Mom Giving Birth Abroad

What happens when a pregnant woman who is a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States travels to a foreign country, say on a vacation to Mexico, and gives birth to her child there? What is the immigration status of the child? Is the child a US green card holder like the mom or does the mom have to file a relative petition for her child and wait several years until it becomes current? Are there any special exceptions for this type of situation, and if there are, what is the procedure to bring the child to the United States so he can live with his parents? These are all good questions especially given the fact that normally lawful permanent resident parents must file a relative petition for their children to bring them to the United States. Normally, the visa category for see types of petitions is backlogged because here aren’t enough green cards to go around and the children must wait several years (between two and five) to receive a green card. So this type of procedure would cause great hardship for the family who would all of a sudden be separated and forced to quickly find ways to live in a new country while the petition awaited its turn in line. Therefore, thankfully Congress envisioned the difficulties that would befall a family in this type of situation and it create da special provision for children born abroad to lawful green card holders. In this case the child is automatically a Legal Permanent Resident provided the mom brings the child to the United States prior to the child’s second birthday. If the child enters the US before he or she turns two years old, he will be a lawful green card holder. If for some reason mom misses the boat and does not bring the child to the US prior to the child turning two, then the child is not a permanent resident and the mom must file a petition for the child and wait several years for the petition to become current. If the mom brings her child with her to the United States during the two year period then all she needs to obtain prior to entry is a transportation letter from e US Consulate in the foreign country indicating that the child can enter. The letter will be sufficient proof at the border and no actual green card is needed. After the child enters the United States, the mom can apply to have a green card issued to the child and that is a much simpler and quicker process. In offer to issue the transportation letter, the US Consulate will need the child’s birth certificate and the mom’s green card and any other pertinent documentation. So, moms don’t worry! Even when circumstances force you to give birth abroad, your children are protected by this provision and they are Legal Permanent Residents just like you, as long as you bring them back to the US within two years.

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