I often meet clients whose father is a United States citizen but was never married to their mother and they want to know whether or not they can get sponsored by their dad for a green card. The answer depends. In order for your father to file for you for a green card, you have to be legitimated and those laws depend on where you were born or the country of birth. Some countries, you’re legitimated just by having your name on the birth certificate. Other countries require or only allow legitimation if you’re married. If you’re from a country where you can only legitimate by being married, then unfortunately they probably won’t be able to sponsor you. If you’re fortunately from a country that legitimation laws aren’t too strict, than most likely they could sponsor you.

However, if a father who had you out of wedlock wants to sponsor you, they have to demonstrate that you had a father/child relationship prior to your eighteenth birthday. What that means is immigration is going to want to see evidence that you’ve had some type of relationship with your parent before your eighteenth birthday and that can be done by demonstrating money sent home, money wires, cards, letters, trips back and forth to see each other, anything to demonstrate that you’ve had a father/child relationship. If you have legitimation and evidence of a father/child relationship, than yes, your father can sponsor you for a green card regardless of whether your parents were married. If you have questions as to whether or not you qualify for a green card based on your father, please contact my office and I’d be happy to discuss your situation with you.

Cheryl David is an experienced immigration attorney practicing in NYC. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding your case, or general immigration procedures and policies.