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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
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My wifes niece is 17 year old Thai citizen with Foreign Student

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My wife's niece is 17 year old Thai citizen with Foreign Student visa living with us going to High School. Can I adopt her as my daughter so she can become permanent resident and eventually go to college as resident? If yes how would we do it?
Thank you for using this service. I'll do my best to answer your questions as completely and honestly as I can. All I ask in return is that you give me a positive rating for my customer service. This is the only way I get credit for assisting you. If you feel the need to use "poor service" or "bad service," please ask follow-up questions instead, so that I can try to help you further. Please remember that the law sometimes does not have a satisfactory solution for your issue; unfortunately, this is something I cannot control.

Please know that while I always do my best to help customers come up with a good answer to their problems, from time to time, the law does not provide a good solution to every situation. Unfortunately, I cannot change that. I am here only as an information source, so please do not hold bad news against me by giving me a negative rating.

Unfortunately, this will not be possible. According to immigration laws and regulations, an alien adopted child may only qualify for immigration into the US if she meets the technical definition of an adopted child.

This requires the following:

- The adoption occurs prior to the child's 16th birthday;
- The adoptive parents had have legal custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption); and
- The child had resided with the adoptive parent for two years (before or after the adoption).

 

So as you can see, in order to be eligible for immigration benefits through adoption, the adoption must be completed prior to the child turning 16 years of age. In this case, because the child has turned 16 already, immigration benefits through adoption cannot be extended to this child, I'm afraid.

I'm very sorry. I wish I had better news, but again, please note that I do not write the law and therefore can't change the law.

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Thank you!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As a Foreign student I think she has up to five years she can attend school in USA ( or in her case 3 yrs high school and two college) can she apply to immigrate on her own during this period?

John,

Yes, a person can apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident if they are in the US as a student. But she has to have a basis to do so, either through an immediate relative (spouse or parent), employment, asylum, lottery, or immigrant investment of at least $500,000 in a new or struggling US business.

She cannot simply qualify for permanent resident status by virtue of being a student.

I hope I have answered your questions. Keep in mind that I only get credit for my work if you rate me positively. If you're satisfied with my answer and my professionalism - not the outcome or the state of the law which I cannot control - please select a top-three rating. Again, if you feel the need to use "poor service" or "bad service," please ask follow-up questions instead, so that I can try to help you further. Remember that the bottom two negative ratings are used for Experts or professionals who are rude and/or bad at their job, and I'm confident you'll find me to be professional and truthful with you.

A bonus is appreciated, if you feel I've earned it.

If you want me to answer questions in the future, you can write "FOR LONGHORN" at the beginning of your question, or go directly to my question page here: Ask Longhorn Lawyer

Thank you!
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