In the United States, it is common knowledge that children, or “minors”, are people under the age of 18. On the child’s 18th birthday, he or she becomes a legal adult. But guess what – it does not work this way in immigration. For immigration purposes, a “child” is an unmarried person under the age of 21. On the other hand, U.S. immigration law labels a person “son” or “daughter” if they are 21 or older, or in a marriage. So, at 21, your son or daughter may legally enjoy an alcoholic beverage, but they are no longer eligible to be a dependent on your immigration application.
Employers Need to Know
To attract and retain talent, employers will often handle the application process, and cover related fees for employees. Likewise, employers will do the same for the spouse and children of the employee. Most commonly, this scenario is for nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B and L-1B visa. However, employers will also handle the application and costs for permanent residency, otherwise known as a green card. Regardless of the application, for a temporary or permanent stay, employers need to know the ages of the children.
Why is this crucial? It is crucial for several reasons. One, the employee may have to make other arrangements for their children. Perhaps there is a way for the son or daughter to come to the U.S. However, once over the age of 21, they will have to take care of their own application. With that, they may have to pay their own fees. Of course, the parent or company can agree to handle the application and cover the costs. Two, if adult-aged children cannot come to the U.S. or stay in the U.S., will the employee still want to be here? If the answer is no, the employer must decide on a contingency plan. There could be other considerations or concerns for the employer. The point is that the age of the children can impact the company’s immigration strategy.
The age of an employee’s dependent children is only one item to think about in your overall corporate immigration strategy. If you want to discuss your strategy or have other immigration law concerns call, or email us.