What legal procedures are necessary to bring 2 Japanese children to the USA for a year?
November 19, 2007 12:44 PM   Subscribe

LegalFilter: My friend wants to care for her brother's 2 children for 1 year while he gets his life in order following a messy divorce. She lives in the US. The children live in Japan. How can visas, schooling, etc be arranged?

I'm asking this question on behalf of a Japanese friend who is a US permanent resident. Her brother recently went through a messy divorce that apparently landed him with sole custody of 2 children. He'd like to entrust the children to my friend for 1 year while he gets his life in order and arranges to be able to care for them better.

She's under the impression that in order to make this work, she needs to apply for legal guardianship of the children, and that doing so will allow her to enroll them in school, which will in turn allow them to get student visas and enter the country. Is that correct? Can you apply for guardianship of children who live in another country? Is the procedure different? Is it necessary? Is a 1-year-only guardianship normal? Can they be enrolled in school/granted long-term visas without doing this? I've looked over all the paperwork and information we could find with her, and we're both very confused. Any advice from someone knowledgeable would be very much appreciated!

If it helps, my friend lives in Novi, MI (Oakland County), and the children are a 12-year-old girl and a 8-year-old boy.
posted by Vorteks to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
i'm not a lawyer, but i would guess that he'd have to give her custody under japanese law first.

i imagine that the japanese embassy might be able to help you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:52 PM on November 19, 2007


She needs a lawyer, period.
posted by The World Famous at 1:12 PM on November 19, 2007


FYI: Normally, international students cannot get F-1 visas to attend public K-12 schools in the United States. I do not know if there is an exception, and I suggest you contact an immigration lawyer. (IAAL but IANYL, this is not legal advice, etc..)
posted by dcjd at 1:29 PM on November 19, 2007


I had a friend in high school who was from Korea who did this sort of thing, albeit to go to an American high school and college. It was a bit shady, but once her aunt and uncle got custody in Korea, it was easy for her to register for things here.
posted by k8t at 1:46 PM on November 19, 2007


Your friend needs to talk to a lawyer. These things can be complicated and it would be a shame for the kids to get caught in an immigration mess.
If cost is an issue, she's near a few law schools that have clinics offering legal services to people who can't afford private attorneys. Michigan in Ann Arbor has a family/child advocacy clinic; I don't know if they deal with immigration issues but it might be worth a try. Wayne State also has a law school (I think) and they might be able to help as well.
posted by ohio at 5:00 PM on November 19, 2007


Her brother recently went through a messy divorce that apparently landed him with sole custody of 2 children.

I can't imagine the mother would be happy with him giving up his sole custody to someone else.
posted by smackfu at 6:00 PM on November 19, 2007


I can't imagine the mother, her lawyer, and the judge would be happy with him giving up his sole custody to someone else including shipping them off to the other side of the Pacific.

This really, really needs involvement of a lawyer in each country. She would feel terrible if this well-meant action accidentally resulted in further destabilization of the kids' situation, or prolonged the messiness between her brother and his ex.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:36 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Thanks everyone. Yeah, I already told her she needed a lawyer, but I also said I'd try to find out what I could.

I can't imagine the mother would be happy with him giving up his sole custody to someone else.

I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but my impression is that the reason the father has sole custody is that the mother decided she didn't want to have anything to do with them and dropped them on Dad's lap. I'm not really sure though. I have never met any of the people involved.
posted by Vorteks at 10:41 PM on November 19, 2007


FYI: Normally, international students cannot get F-1 visas to attend public K-12 schools in the United States. I do not know if there is an exception, and I suggest you contact an immigration lawyer. (IAAL but IANYL, this is not legal advice, etc..)

That is not true. They may not attend public elementary schools. Secondary is fne as long as the students pay the full unsubsidized cost. There are many, many private elementary and secondary schools across the United States that are DHS approved and open for attendance by your friend's children.
posted by Pollomacho at 4:26 PM on November 26, 2007


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