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October 11, 2010: Can this Illegitimate Child Petition for Father?

Can This Illegitimate Child Petition for Father?

I am of Indian Nationality. I fathered a child in the USA in 1984. She is a US Citizen. I did not marry the mother and went back to live in India. I am listed on the birth certificate as the child’s father and my daughter has always known who her father is. She recently came and stayed with me in India for 2 months on a visit.

My question is this: Can she file an I-130 relative petition for me to obtain a US visa even though her mother and I did not marry?
— Neha

Since you never married your daughter’s mother before she turned 18 years of age, she is an illegitimate child. An illegitimate child can only petition for his or her father if s/he can prove that a bona fide parent-child relationship existed before the illegitimate child turned 21 years of age.

To prove that a bona fide parent-child relationship existed during that requisite time period, the petitioning child must provide evidence that the father lived with the child, supported the child, and/or otherwise showed continuing parental interest in the child’s welfare. This evidence may include, and is certainly not limited to, medical records, school records, religious records, property records, and bank records. Since it appears that your daughter is approximately 26 years old, your recent 2 month visit together will not count toward proving your parent/child relationship for immigration purposes.

It may be wise to contact an experienced immigration attorney who can learn the details of your relationship and evaluate whether you may be able to prove that a bona fide parent/child relationship existed for immigration purposes.

Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys

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