Tampa, FL asked in Immigration Law, Family Law and Adoption for Florida

Q: My nephew over stayed his ESTA visa by 8yrs. He is now 16yo, i want to adopt him. He’s been living with me for 4 years,

I have my residential lease from company listing him as joint resident with me. I am divorced. Can I adopt him so he can stay and continue his education?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Adopting your nephew, given his current situation of having overstayed his ESTA visa by a significant amount of time, involves navigating complex legal territory. It's crucial to understand that adoption laws vary by state and can be influenced by the specifics of the individual's immigration status. Since your nephew is already living with you and is listed as a joint resident, you've established a significant connection, which may support your case for adoption.

However, the process of adoption does not automatically change an individual's immigration status. Following the adoption, you would need to undertake additional legal steps to address his overstayed visa and secure his right to stay in the country and continue his education. This could involve legal proceedings that require detailed documentation and potentially engaging with immigration authorities to explore options for adjusting his status.

Given the complexity of immigration laws and the potential consequences of overstaying a visa, it would be wise to consult with an attorney who has experience in both family and immigration law. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation, including the feasibility of adoption and the subsequent steps needed to regularize your nephew's status in the United States. This professional advice can help navigate the legal challenges and work towards a solution that allows your nephew to remain with you and continue his education.

Ghenadie Rusu
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY

A: I recommend consulting with an immigration attorney to determine if your nephew qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). This status provides a pathway to legal residency in the United States for children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected by one or both parents.

For more detailed information on SIJS and its requirements, please refer to my article on the topic; https://rusulaw.com/how-to-apply-for-sijs/

It outlines the process and criteria for obtaining legal status under SIJS, which might be applicable to your nephew's situation.

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