+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    sylvie.p is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2

    Immigration status of foreign national teenager in the legal custody of us citizen?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? VIRGINIA
    I am a US citizen and recently received the legal custody of my 16 year-old French niece. The situation that led to this is complicated but the fact is that I have her legal custody in Fairfax County, VA.

    She entered the US 3 months ago on a visa waiver program and we went to the immigration office this morning to find out what we need to do since her 90 days authorized stay ended 2 days ago. I am very alarmed as the officer said that she has to leave the US and I have to seek attorney advice.

    She started as a high-school junior and is getting straight As. A student visa (F-1) will not work as I will have to pay $20K year tuition (even though she goes to a public school in a state where I pay taxes...)

    She just turned 16 so legal adoption will not help either (only under 16 can be adopted and then sponsored by US citizen).

    Right now, she is considered ILLEGAL even though she lives with me. I have researched this quite a bit and realize that the problem is not a family law matter but an immigration matter which is why I am posting here.

    If she stays illegally, then she will be banned from re-entering the US when she travels abroad. What should I do to allow her to finish her studies in the US yet still allow her to visit her family in France?
  2. #2
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    In honor of JetX ~ Somnambulist University
    Posts
    21,224
    Quote Originally Posted by sylvie.p View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? VIRGINIA
    I am a US citizen and recently received the legal custody of my 16 year-old French niece. The situation that led to this is complicated but the fact is that I have her legal custody in Fairfax County, VA.

    She entered the US 3 months ago on a visa waiver program and we went to the immigration office this morning to find out what we need to do since her 90 days authorized stay ended 2 days ago. I am very alarmed as the officer said that she has to leave the US and I have to seek attorney advice.

    She started as a high-school junior and is getting straight As. A student visa (F-1) will not work as I will have to pay $20K year tuition (even though she goes to a public school in a state where I pay taxes...)

    She just turned 16 so legal adoption will not help either (only under 16 can be adopted and then sponsored by US citizen).

    Right now, she is considered ILLEGAL even though she lives with me. I have researched this quite a bit and realize that the problem is not a family law matter but an immigration matter which is why I am posting here.

    If she stays illegally, then she will be banned from re-entering the US when she travels abroad. What should I do to allow her to finish her studies in the US yet still allow her to visit her family in France?

    Under what circumstances did you get legal custody. Where are her mother and father?
  3. #3
    sylvie.p is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2
    OK. That's the long story. My sister (and my niece's mother) became the legal guardian of both our aging parents. Dad has alzheimer's and Mom has diabetes. These are the main illnesses, they also a bunch of other issues that require daily care. We do not have enough resources to "place" them becayuse we are also dealing with a bunch of debt due to bad decisions on their part (which is one of the things that led to my sister getting full guardianship). Guardianship of 2 sick and difficult seniors is no trivial matter.

    My sister and her husband are divorced. He is now living with another woman who refuses to have my niece stay with them. He chose the woman, not his daughter... My sister is taking care of my parents and another daughter.

    In addition, the 16 year old in question is a difficult teenager. I think the proper term for a girl who has already undergone 2 HIV tests and one pregnancy test is "at-risk". She attempted suicide a year ago and her relationship with my sister (her mom) has been difficult.

    Sooo, while visiting my sister in France this summer, she and I concocted a plan whereby my niece would come live with me in the US for a year to give ny sister a chance to pay our parents debts and hopefully settle settle them into a nurning home of some sort. Now it looks like this will probably take more than a year but we'll see... At the same time, we would "unroot" my niece from all the bad influences and the environment where she was spiraling downward and offer her a new challenge, under the pretense that we are helping her grand-parents... Not HER of course (she would probably have refused any of it if she knew this was to help her as well).

    So here I am. I submitted all the proper paperwork and got her registered and attending high school where she gets straight As. I got the custody order that allowed me to cover her under my health insurance. I am taking care of her and I think she is on track for success.

    My sister has my father in a temporary facility where they have clearly stated they will not keep him unless he "cooperates", which is not the case, yet. My mother is currently living with my sister and making her life miserable. The cost of placing her is prohibitive at this point. So, she's placed their names on a number of waitlists for a facility where they could be together, but we don't know how long it will take.

    I know this is a long story and I'm not too sure about what's relevant and what's not. All this started as a family matter. And now that everything seems to be under control, there is this issue about her legal status in the US.

    I hope this gives enough background for you to make suggestions. Thanks!
  4. #4
    ImmigAttyLana is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    6,838
    Until she is 18, although she is out of status, she is not accruing unlawful presence time, so as long as she departs the US prior to turning 18, she will not have a bar to reentry. Her only option will be to get a student visa if she wants to study in the US and she will either need to get a sponsor for the tuition and room and board or try to get scholarships, etc. If she remains in the US, not only will she not be eligible to attend school if she is unlawfully present, she will have no way of EVER legalizing her status except through a valid marriage to a US citizen.
    Thanks,
    Lana
    Immigration Attorney
    Admitted to practice in CA, AZ, IN and OH

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 02-07-2010, 02:04 AM
  2. Divorced Foreign National Legal Status
    By Texas Joe in forum Divorce, Separation & Annulment
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-24-2009, 09:21 PM
  3. Foreign national marrying US citizen
    By dustinthewind in forum Immigration
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-16-2009, 01:01 PM
  4. Marriage between US citizen and foreign national
    By Amerikiwi in forum Marriage, Domestic Partnerships and Other Family Law Matters
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-12-2007, 08:47 PM
  5. US citizen marrying a foreign national
    By timothybard in forum Immigration
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-02-2004, 11:08 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.