Many of us – even here in Minnesota – don’t have “traditional” families. In fact, it can be argued that there is no such thing as a traditional family as it was thought of even fifty or sixty years ago.
When you’re trying to bring someone to the U.S. as a family member, however, that person needs to be your spouse, child, parent or sibling for you to be their sponsor for a Green Card, or lawful permanent residency.
For men who are trying to bring a child to the U.S., however, it can be complicated if they were never married to that child’s mother and aren’t listed on their birth certificate. Maybe you were born and raised in the U.S., but you spent some time abroad. Perhaps you immigrated to the U.S. and became a citizen.
Whatever the case, you may have maintained a long-distance relationship with your child. However, there is no legal documentation of a biological relationship.
If this is the case, you may have to prove that relationship. Thanks to DNA testing, that can be accomplished easily (through a cheek swab of both of you). However, the processing and comparison of the tests typically doesn’t move quickly, and it will cost you some money. The U.S. Government requires DNA results that show at least 99.5% certainty “as sufficient to support a biological relationship between a parent and child.”
Before you arrange for these tests, determine what evidence you have of your relationship. Even if you aren’t listed on your child’s birth certificate, if you have photos with them throughout their life, letters and potentially other mementos, that may possibly be sufficient for immigration officials. Just be aware that DNA testing may be your only option.
Your best course of action is to seek legal guidance. This will help you better determine your next steps toward bringing your child to the U.S.