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Children And Derivative Children Q & A

Children and Derivative Children

Q: Can the children of an immigrant visa applicant be included in a single petition? 

Children of U.S. citizens are considered Immediate Relatives (IR) and must have individual petitions filed for them. Petitions for immediate relatives may be filed simultaneously at the USCIS. 

Children of applicants with family-based petitions (F category) may derive immigration benefits from the same petition provided that they are single and under 21. Such children are called “derivatives” for purposes of immigration. Only biological or legally-adopted children are entitled to derivative status.  An adopted child must have been legally adopted before the age of 16 and must have been in the physical and legal custody of the adoptive parent for at least two years.  For more information on adopted children and the definition of a child for immigration purposes, please click here.

A child born after a petition was filed and approved may be registered or added on to the petition as a derivative. The principal applicant needs to submit the child’s birth certificate printed on NSO paper either to the NVC or to the Embassy and pay the corresponding visa processing fee for each additional derivative.

Q. Can my child, who is nearing 21 years of age, be issued a visa before s/he turns 21?

If visa numbers are available for you (or your visa case becomes current for processing) and your child is “aging out” (or turning 21), we are prepared to expedite the processing of the application. However, it is still the applicant’s responsibility to complete the application requirements in a timely manner. 

U.S. immigration law requires that visa applications be strictly processed according to priority date because of the limited number of visas available worldwide. This means the Embassy will not process visa applications with priority dates that are not current. If your case is current for processing, you may proceed to St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic to pick up your appointment letter.

If you believe aging out will affect your case, you may contact the Embassy by e-mail at  For more information on The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) click here

Q: How can a child born outside the United States to a Lawful Permanent Resident parent enter the United States without a visa? 

A child born abroad to parents who are U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents may enter the United States without a visa, provided the child is accompanied by a parent, upon that parent’s first return to the United States within two years of the child’s birth. The parent must provide reliable documentation showing the parent-child relationship.  For more information, please contact USCIS.

 Q: How can a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) bring his or her children to the United States?  

The children of lawful permanent residents must generally have an immigrant visa to enter the United States. The Lawful Permanent Resident parent(s) must file an F2A (minor child) or F2B (unmarried child over 21 years old) preference petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. For the Philippines this can involve a wait of several years.

Q: My child had Lawful Permanent Resident status and has not returned to the United States in over one year.  I would like my child to return to live in the United States.  How can I proceed?

If your child was a Lawful Permanent Resident and has not returned to the United States in over a year, please read the information on our Returning Resident page.