Dealing with questionable parent-child relationship
When it comes to proving relationships in family petitions or in citizenship applications, submission of legal documents will generally suffice to obtain a visa approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
There are certain times, however, when birth certificate documents are available yet a DNA test is still required to prove relationship. When does this occur and what will happen if the real parent is other than the petitioner?
Jessie is a US citizen who met Alexa, his fiancée, during one of his visits in Manila. After two years of courting Alexa, he finally decided to file a fiancée visa petition for Alexa.
A petition was filed in the USCIS and the fiancée visa was approved.
Prior to being interviewed at the US Embassy, Alexa gave birth to Joshua. A birth certificate was obtained indicating that the father is Jessie. The relatives and friends of Jessie, however, had doubts about the paternity of the child.
Nonetheless, Jessie filed a Consular Report of Birth Abroad in the US Embassy in Manila so that a US passport may be issued to Joshua as his US citizen child.
Paternity was in doubt because at the time of conception, Jessie was in the US. Further evidence was required including a DNA testing to determine paternity. Instead of proceeding with the DNA test, Alexa admitted that Joshua’s father was her former suitor.
As expected, Jessie was severely distressed by Alexa’s admission but also realized that he still loves Alexa and is willing to accept Joshua as his own child. Can Alexa still obtain the fiancée visa? Will Joshua be able to travel to the United States with his mother?
A child born abroad to a US citizen parent may derive US citizenship from the parent as long as eligibility requirements are met.
These children are US citizens at birth. In conferring derivative citizenship proof of parental relationship is critical. There is usually further scrutiny of the application when the parents of the child are living apart, or, when there is a wide age gap between the parents.
Stepchild of the fiancé
In the case of Jessie, instead of applying for derivative citizenship of the child, Joshua, could still get a K2 visa as the child of his fiancée. Unfortunately, Alexa has to deal with her “misrepresentation” issue when she stated that the father of the child was Jessie. This may affect her ability to obtain the visa unless a waiver is filed and approved by the USCIS.
Proving parental relationship should not be difficult if the truth is asserted from the beginning of the application.
Concealment of a child’s real parents by the use of a false birth certificate will not be favored in visa applications.
There may be good intentions but the best interest of the child is not served by concealing the identity of his real parent until the time of the visa application.
(The author may be reached at [email protected], facebook.
com/tancincolaw, www.tancinco.com or  721-1963.)
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