Bringing your family to the United States to become citizens may be a dream of yours. It may not be difficult if you want to help your spouse and children attain citizenship. However, not all family situations are the same. You might have a stepchild because you have married a spouse with a child from a previous relationship.
According to the USCIS, it is possible for a stepchild to acquire U.S. citizenship, but it must happen if the following situations exist.
Acquiring citizenship through adoption
Your biological children are eligible to acquire citizenship through their relationship with you. The same is true if you adopt a child. So if you adopt your stepchild, U.S. law will give your stepchild the same immigration rights as your biological children, including the possibility of U.S. citizenship.
Acquiring citizenship through a biological parent
Your spouse might not be a U.S. citizen yet. However, in the event that changes, your stepchild may become eligible to become a citizen. This is because U.S. law allows both natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens to help their biological children attain citizenship. However, this must happen before the child of your spouse turns 18 years old.
Acquiring citizenship as an adult
Perhaps your stepchild does not want to become your adopted child or is getting close to becoming an adult. If there is no familial relationship that allows your stepchild to acquire U.S. citizenship, your stepchild may still come to the United States and wait until becoming an adult before personally applying for citizenship.
The options for citizenship are a little more complicated when it comes to stepchildren. Nonetheless, it is very possible to help a stepchild achieve the dream of becoming an American citizen.