Tue | Sep 27, 2022

Immigration Corner | Can I adopt and file for my 18-year-old nephew?

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2022 | 12:06 AM
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
Dahlia Walker-Huntington
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Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

I am a Jamaican-American who lives in Georgia. The state of Georgia allows adult adoption, but Jamaica does not. I would like to adopt my 18-year-old nephew and bring him to the USA. Since Jamaica does not acknowledge adult adoption, what other option is there for me to bring my nephew to the US to live with me. My brother (his dad) died in Jamaica in September 2021.

– DG

Dear DG,

Even if you could legally adopt your 18-year-old nephew, US Immigration would only permit you to petition for your nephew as your adopted son if the adoption took place before your nephew was 16 years old. You would also be required to live with your nephew for two years – before or after the adoption, unless your nephew was declared an orphan.

Since petitioning for your nephew to migrate as your beneficiary is out of the question, you could look to helping your nephew to come to the United States as a student. If he has already graduated from high school, you could explore having him enroll in college in America. Contact a college near your home in Georgia and go through the enrolment process. If he is accepted, he will be given a document with which he could then proceed to apply for a student visa to come to America to study.

A student visa is a non-immigrant visa for which your nephew would have to prove that he has no intention to migrate, i.e., to secure permanent residency status in America – that he would complete his studies and return to Jamaica. He would also be required to show financial ability to support himself while in the United States – tuition and room and board. This is where you could help by showing that you would pay for his tuition and offer him room and board in your home.

Upon completion of his studies, his college would assist him in applying for a work permit that would allow him to legally work in America. There are times when students, while working in the post-study job, their employers offer them longer employment through a work visa or permanent resident through filing for their green cards.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator, and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida. info@walkerhuntington.com