USCIS Clarifies Guidelines for Spousal Petitions Involving Minors

ptksgc.    Pixabay  . USCIS publishes new policy guidance in evaluating green card petitions involving minors.

ptksgc. Pixabay. USCIS publishes new policy guidance in evaluating green card petitions involving minors.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it is strengthening its policy regarding adjudications of spousal petitions involving minors. USCIS also issued a policy alert regarding a recent update to the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM), clarifying age requirements for a petitioner filing an Affidavit of Support for a spouse in conjunction with a concurrently filed I-485 (adjustment of status), and identifies factors officers should consider when adjudicating a Form I-130 spousal petition involving a minor.

What has changed?

While there are no statutory age requirements to petition for a spouse or be sponsored as a spousal beneficiary, USCIS will consider whether the age of the beneficiary or petitioner at the time the marriage was celebrated violates the law of the place of celebration and is recognized as valid or violates the public policy of the state where the couple resides or plans to reside. In some U.S. states and in some foreign countries, marriage involving a minor might be permitted under certain circumstances, including where there is parental consent, a judicial order, emancipation of the minor, or pregnancy of the minor.

Prior to this AFM update, USCIS created a flagging system that sends an alert in the electronic system at the time of filing if a minor spouse or fiancé is detected. After the initial flag, the petition is sent to a special unit that verifies that the age and relationship listed are correct before the petition is accepted. If the age or classification on the petition is incorrect, the petition will be returned to the petitioner for correction.

What factors may USCIS use in this evaluation?

The updated guidance stresses to adjudicators that marriages involving a minor warrant special attention. When considering a petition, USCIS officers should ensure that:

  • The marriage was lawful in the place it was celebrated;

  • If the couple resides outside the place of celebration, the marriage is recognized as valid in the U.S. state where the couple currently resides or will presumably reside and does not violate the state of residence’s public policy, and;

  • The marriage is bona fide, and the minor(s) provided full, free, and informed consent to enter into the marriage.

If you are affected by this development, lease contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.

Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
Contact us at (888) 445-7066  or We are also on social media and on Skype: @LegalEaseUS. ||
This website and blog constitute attorney advertising. Do not consider anything on this website or blog legal advice as the law is dynamic, particularly in the immigration field and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.