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ALLAN WERNICK: A stepchild can petition for a stepparent to become a U.S. citizen


Q. Can my son petition for his stepfather? My son, age 23, is a U.S. citizen. I married my husband eight years ago when my son was just 15. My husband came here legally as a visitor but now has no legal status.

Aide Ramirez

A. Your son can petition for your husband. Additionally, through the process called “adjustment of status,” your husband can interview in the United States despite being here unlawfully.

U.S. immigration law recognizes a parent/child relationship between a stepchild and stepparent. The marriage between the biological parent and the stepparent must take place before the child turns 18. So, immigration law considers your husband to be your son’s father. As a U.S. citizen at least age 21, he can petition for his stepfather. Because your husband entered legally and he qualifies for a green card as the parent of a U.S. citizen, he can adjust status.

Q. My mom petitioned for my married brother, but he has an urgent need to come to the United States. Can he come while he waits to get to the front of the line for his green card? We understand my brother has a year or more to qualify for his green card, but a doctor has diagnosed him with having a brain tumor.

Name withheld, Boston

A. Your brother’s best chance is to apply for humanitarian parole. Humanitarian parole is available to individuals not eligible for a visa, but who have an urgent need to come to the United States. USCIS grants humanitarian parole in especially deserving cases only.

To apply for humanitarian parole, you file U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form I-131, Application for Travel Document and Form I-134, Affidavit of support (signed by you or a close relative). Include a doctor’s letter with a diagnosis and prognosis and the length and nature of the treatment, along with an estimated cost of the treatment. You also want to explain that the same treatment isn’t available in the applicant’s country or a neighboring country. Your family must also show the ability to get the treatment without relying on U.S. government assistance.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 7th Fl., 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y., 10004 or email to [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @awernick.