Can I ask for a stepson?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers a question from a reader who wants to petition for his stepson.

Each immigration case is different. Please consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any proceedings.

This is the column:

I am a U.S. citizen and I helped my partner obtain his conditional permanent residency. We have been married for over two years and are waiting for immigration to send him his new permanent residency card without restrictions.

Now I want to petition for my 20 year old stepson. He is single and has DACA. When I married my partner my stepson was under 18. Can I apply for him? Does it affect the fact that my partner has not yet received his new permanent resident card? How much would it cost to apply for him? -Juan

Juan, you can file a family petition on behalf of your stepson because you are a U.S. citizen and you married your partner before he turned 18.

However, you should consult with an immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine if they meet the requirements of the process. For example, you should determine your stepson's immigration history and whether he entered the United States legally or illegally. This will determine whether he can apply for permanent residency inside or outside the United States.

Also, it is important to know your financial situation to determine if you can support your stepchild in the United States or if you will need the help of a financial co-sponsor.

If they are eligible, you must file the family petition before your stepchild turns 21. He must remain unmarried to preserve his "child" status under immigration law and thus allow him to obtain permanent residency much faster than if you file after he turns 21.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) currently charges $420 for a family petition.

If they meet all the requirements, you should hurry, because the USCIS recently proposed to increase this quota to $535.

It does not matter that your partner has not received his or her unrestricted permanent resident card. The procedure you will do for your stepchild is independent of the immigration benefit your partner is requesting.

Consult with an immigration attorney before beginning any immigration proceedings.