If you are a parent of a child who lives in another country, you may wonder if you have to do anything to legally bring him or her to the United States. This is often an issue if you had lived in a foreign country and given birth to your child there. That child would then be a citizen of that country. It requires immigration paperwork to ensure your child can legally come to live in Illinois.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains that you can petition for immigration as the parent of a child who is under the age of 21 and not married or for your child who is over 21 who is not married. You can also petition for your child who is married, along with his or her spouse and children. As a citizen yourself, you will need to file Form I-130.

Along with the form, you have to provide evidence that you are a U.S. citizen, such as a birth certificate. You also have to provide your child’s birth certificate. If you are the father, you may also have to submit your marriage certificate, divorce documents from the child’s other parent or proof of custody arrangements from a court.

It is not guaranteed that your request will be granted. Immigration authorities must review your documentation and make a ruling. Your child will not be granted immediate U.S. citizenship as that it handled through another process. The ruling on your petition may take some time to come through, so be aware of that when filing. This information is for education and is not legal advice.