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Green Cards and Birth Abroad

blog5.jpgFor various reasons, Green Card holders may choose to travel abroad to give birth. They may wish to be closer to family or they may prefer the healthcare in their home country. No matter the reason, following the birth of a child abroad, Green Card holders must take certain steps to ensure that their child can enter the US legally and obtain their own Green Card.

Under 8 CFR 211.11(b), a child born to a Green Card holder mother during a temporary trip abroad (less than one year) may enter the US without a Green Card so long as they adjust status within two years.

When traveling to the US, the border agent will admit the child in NA-3 status (Child born during the temporary visit abroad of a mother who is a lawful permanent resident alien) and issue a Form I-181 (Memorandum of Creation of Record of Admission for Lawful Permanent Residence) which shows the child has entered as a Lawful Permanent Resident without a Green Card as permitted by 8 CFR 211.11(b). They will also stamp her passport with an I-551 stamp.

Following entry the parent will still have to petition and apply for the child's Green Card as the child of a permanent resident. The parent will use the Form I-181 and I-551 stamp to prove her legal status when they eventually apply.

To ensure smooth entry to the US, the parent should gather the following documents:

  • The child's passport

  • Certified and translated Birth Certificate for the child

  • The Mother's Passport, Green Card, and Birth Certificate with certified translation

  • The Father's Passport, Green Card, and Birth Certificate with certified translation

  • Four (4) US passport sized photos of the child

  • If the parents will be traveling separately, then they will also need a notarized letter authorizing the child's travel

The parents should also contact the US embassy in whatever country they are visiting to see if there is other country specific documentation they should have and to request a letter confirming the family's ability to travel.

One additional note: the regulations currently only provide for travel for the child of a Green Card holder mother. If only the father holds a Green Card, he may not be able to travel with the child. Instead he may have to petition through the embassy and obtain the child's Green Card prior to travel. However, recent Supreme Court rulings on gender discrimination in the immigration context may change this in the future.

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Chong Immigration Law PLLC
1629 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: 202-798-7328
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