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CSS family data: Never-married parents / Undocumented custodial parent

MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
Our situation is quite complicated and I would really appreciated it if anyone could give me an idea of who I could discuss it with.
I'll try to give a general ideal here:
My daughter is a current HS Junior (A+ Student). Her father and I were never married. He later married - and divorced - someone else, and has 5 other children.
I am Brazilian and so is my daughter. I have raised her 100% on my own in Brazil, with no help from the father (who's an American citizen).
Five years ago he reached out to us, and asked me to bring her to the US, because he wanted to be in her life. He would sponsor her Green Card and she's go to HS and College here.
It took him nearly five years to start the Green Card process. During this time, my daughter and I have been here as undocumented immigrants.
By the time she is to apply for College, she'll already have her Permanent Resident status, but we don't know how to go about it on our CSS profile.
I have filed my 2019 Income Tax Return, but I could not list her as my dependent, since she doesn't yet have a SSN.
She's also not her father's dependent (especially because he has never paid a single dime in Child Support and his name wasn't even in her Birth Certificate until last month).
I actually wanted to submit a CSS Profile Waiver Request for the Noncustodial Parent and exclude him from the picture, but I'm not sure it would be a good idea, since I'm still out of status in the country and I imagine that could complicate the situation.
Example: if I list as "Household Income" mine + his income, do I also list as part of the household his 5 kids and their mother?! 'Cause they're sharing his income...
Who should I talk to in order to get sound advice about how to proceed? Would her Guidance Counselor be able to shed some light?
TIA
edited February 27
34 replies
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Replies to: CSS family data: Never-married parents / Undocumented custodial parent

  • thumper1thumper1 77248 replies3436 threads Senior Member
    edited February 27
    If you don’t live with the father, your daughter doesn’t live with the father, and you are not married to the father, I would say you don’t list him at all on your FAFSA, but you know that.

    But then...she can’t complete a FAFSA until she has green card status, or citizenship.

    For Profile...You would complete the Profile, and he would complete the non-custodial Parent Profile. Or you can apply for a waiver for the non-custodial parent Profile if you really have no contact with the dad...frankly it sounds like you do have contact with him...but you never know.

    Contact the colleges.

    I’m a little confused...your daughter is the child of an American citizen...right? Why doesn’t she have citizenship?

    Until she has green card or citizen status, she will be applying as an international student.

    @happymomof1 any advice here?

    @kelsmom betting you saw situations like this (not with Profile...but with undocumented folks)

    edited February 27
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81261 replies729 threads Senior Member
    thumper1 wrote: »
    I’m a little confused...your daughter is the child of an American citizen...right? Why doesn’t she have citizenship?

    https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-legal-considerations/us-citizenship/Acquisition-US-Citizenship-Child-Born-Abroad.html may be helpful in understanding the rules for birth outside the US to one US citizen parent.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77248 replies3436 threads Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus I understand the rules...but I don’t understand why this wasn’t done when this kid was born.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24113 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Well, citizenship wasn't applied for before so they have to deal with things as they are now.

    It would be a lot easier if the child was a citizen because then she could file the FAFSA and would use her mother's income and assets, plus whatever support was received from the father.

    As it is now, she is an international applicant. You will find some help in the forums on international applicants as far as applying for FA using the Profile or a school specific form (Princeton, U of Chicago).

    As you can see the need for the permanent status or citizenship, is there a way to expedite the process?
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member

    thumper1 wrote: »
    @ucbalumnus I understand the rules...but I don’t understand why this wasn’t done when this kid was born.

    He was young (21) and unreliable.
    Having his name in her Birth Certificate would only cause me problems.
    When a child has both parents listed in her BC, both their signatures are required for pretty much anything: school, trips, other documents...
    The guy moved around and switch phone numbers every other month. There were times he wouldn't get in touch for years and I never really a way to initiate contact because of that.
    How could I depend on him to receive, sign and return important documents?
    If, even now that he's nearly 40, he still has a hard time keeping up with responsibilities, imagine what it was like when he was 21...
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    It would be a lot easier if the child was a citizen because then she could file the FAFSA and would use her mother's income and assets, plus whatever support was received from the father.
    No support was ever received from the father.
    As you can see the need for the permanent status or citizenship, is there a way to expedite the process?
    As I mentioned in my original post, she will already be a permanent citizen by the time she applies to College (OCT-NOV/20).
    When we started the process (July/19) the lawyer said it wouldn't take more than a year, since she was the minor child of a US Citizen.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3975 replies71 threads Senior Member
    edited February 27
    As I mentioned in my original post, she will already be a permanent citizen by the time she applies to College (OCT-NOV/20).
    When we started the process (July/19) the lawyer said it wouldn't take more than a year, since she was the minor child of a US Citizen.

    There are pathways to get a Green Card (permanent resident), or to become a citizen.

    What is her pathway/process?

    It sounds like you are on it, but obviously getting one or the other will mean all the difference in her college search...international students needing financial aid are in a very challenging situation.
    edited February 27
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    edited February 27
    thumper1 wrote: »
    I’m a little confused...your daughter is the child of an American citizen...right? Why doesn’t she have citizenship?

    If a child is born abroad in wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother and a U.S. citizen father, he/she acquires U.S. citizenship at birth, but we were not married and I didn't list him as her father on the Birth Certificate.
    He would need to be either present at the Notary's Office (in Brazil) when I registered her, or send me a Special Power of Attorney allowing me to name him as the father, but none of those happened at the time.
    edited February 27
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    edited February 27
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    There are pathways to get a Green Card (permanent resident), or to become a citizen.
    What is her pathway/process?

    She has already done her fingerprinting, we have sent the documentation establishing paternity and we have received a letter telling us that the next step is the USCIS medical exam (which she will do in the next couple of weeks) and the final step is the interview.
    Now, I must admit, I'm not very, very familiarized with the process, because her father's taking care of it. From what I've read online, she'd get s SSN, a Green Card and, later on, the Citizenship. Don't quote me on that, though.

    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    It sounds like you are on it, but obviously getting one or the other will mean all the difference in her college search...international students needing financial aid are in a very challenging situation.

    Oh, if this whole thing falls through I'd take her back to Brazil.
    I mean, when we first came that was the deal: she'd go to High School here, and would go back to Brazil for College, but she and her father made other plans.
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    edited February 27
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24113 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Okay, if she'll have a green card by the time she applies to college and the FAFSA, plus a SSN. She can then file the FAFSA and you will fill out the parent's portion as she lives with you. There is a process to follow if YOU, the parent, do not have a SSN. You will list your income and assets and any child support received. If you don't receive any, you don't report any. Her father doesn't need to fill out anything on the FAFSA.

    If she applies to schools that require the Profile/CSS, her father will have to fill out the non-custodial parent part. She will not receive a waiver since you do have contact with him. She might still be eligible for a large aid grant so he just needs to fill it out. If he won't, your daughter probably won't get aid. In that case, go with FAFSA only schools.

    If she doesn't have a green card by the time she needs to apply, it will be very difficult. She would have to apply as an international student and wouldn't be eligible for federal aid. Depending on the state you live in, she might be eligible for state aid, including instate tuition rates at public schools.
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    There are pathways to get a Green Card (permanent resident), or to become a citizen. What is her pathway/process?
    I'm not too familiarized with the process because her father's taking care of it, but it seems to me they filed for a Green Card and Adjustment of Status.
    She's in the penultimate step of the process (USCIS Medical Exam) and the final step should be the interview.
    Mwfan1921 wrote: »
    It sounds like you are on it, but obviously getting one or the other will mean all the difference in her college search...international students needing financial aid are in a very challenging situation.
    Yeah, if this whole thing falls through I'll just take her back to Brazil.
    That was actually the plan when we came: she'd go to High School here, get to know her father in the meantime and then we'd go back to Brazil for College, but she and her father made other plans. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  • thumper1thumper1 77248 replies3436 threads Senior Member
    Her father made other plans? Does he plan to finance college? If not, keep that option of Brazil open. It might be less costly for her to attend college there.
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  • thumper1thumper1 77248 replies3436 threads Senior Member
    I'm not too familiarized with the process because her father's taking care of it, but it seems to me they filed for a Green Card and Adjustment of Status.

    When was this filed? These adjustments can take up to five years to be processed.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30033 replies59 threads Senior Member
    @twoinanddone has this down pat.

    The fact of the matter is that few colleges guarantee to meet full need. If she ends up as a competitive student for the larger financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and you have a low (zero is optimal) FAFSA EFC, she would be a great candidate for the QuestBridge program. Hopefully, she and you look into this. Too many school GCs do not bring up that particular route and she may be a good candidate.

    Also check out what your state schools’ policies are for students in your DD’s situation. NY, for instance, has aid available for those students who graduate from a NY high school and have had a specified number of years at a NY high school.
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  • sybbie719sybbie719 20873 replies2045 threads Super Moderator
    edited February 28
    For a QuestBridge, D would still have to include dad’s income/assets
    edited February 28
    Post edited by sybbie719 on
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    thumper1 wrote: »
    I'm not too familiarized with the process because her father's taking care of it, but it seems to me they filed for a Green Card and Adjustment of Status.

    When was this filed? These adjustments can take up to five years to be processed.
    It doesn't take that long when it's a parent or child.
    He has already sponsored his mom and his dad. It didn't take them a year.
    The lawyers's prediction was 6 months to a year.
    It was filed last year and there are only two steps left, Medical Exam and final Interview (which should happen either April or May).
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  • MsRedNYCMsRedNYC 12 replies1 threads New Member
    thumper1 wrote: »
    Her father made other plans? Does he plan to finance college? If not, keep that option of Brazil open. It might be less costly for her to attend college there.
    Yes, he wants her to go to college here and (supposedly) he's gonna pay for it, since he's never paid for anything else.
    Oh, and about the cost, you're absolutely right.
    The best colleges are actually free in Brazil. My siblings and I each have at least two bachelor degrees (though mine are from private universities).
    While we were in Brazil my daughter only attended good private schools, she has received quality Education. It wouldn't be hard for her to get into college there.
    It's only too bad because High School is only 3 years there, so all of her friends are already in College and she'd be two years behind them by the time she finished HS here... :(
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  • thumper1thumper1 77248 replies3436 threads Senior Member
    @MsRedNYC

    I would strongly urge you to look at college costs in this country. They aren’t cheap. Some private schools cost way over $70,000 a year. Public out if state options can be costly too.

    Some schools only give need based aid...will your daughter qualify for this? Is she a competitive applicant for these schools? They are competitive for admissions.

    Maybe the dad is willing to fund a community college with your daughter commuting? Maybe he is willing to pay full freight someplace. You need to find out firmly what his financial commitment is and where the money is coming from.

    If you are counting on a dad who has never spent a dime on this daughter to fully fund college...I would suggest you think about this a bit.

    Your mom income will be a required submission on all financial aid application forms. Keep in mind that the vast majority of colleges do not meet full financial need for all accepted students.

    Until your child has permanent residence status, she is not eligible to receive any federally funded need based aid...at.all.

    Depending on your state of residence, she might not be eligible for state funded aid either. You need to check these things!

    Don’t make any assumptions...work with facts only.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84312 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    im a little confused. you came to this country with your child at the biodad’s request. have you been living with him? how have you been supporting yourself all this time?

    have you looked at college costs for international students?

    your dd will be starting her senior year soon. when will she be getting her green card? and what Im not understanding is....doesn’t the dad have to show that he’s going to support her (sponsor her) so she can get the green card?
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84312 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    MsRedNYC wrote: »
    thumper1 wrote: »
    Her father made other plans? Does he plan to finance college? If not, keep that option of Brazil open. It might be less costly for her to attend college there.
    Yes, he wants her to go to college here and (supposedly) he's gonna pay for it, since he's never paid for anything else.
    Oh, and about the cost, you're absolutely right.
    The best colleges are actually free in Brazil. My siblings and I each have at least two bachelor degrees (though mine are from private universities).
    While we were in Brazil my daughter only attended good private schools, she has received quality Education.

    It wouldn't be hard for her to get into college there.
    It's only too bad because High School is only 3 years there, so all of her friends are already in College and she'd be two years behind them by the time she finished HS here... :(

    so what? if she went to school here, she wouldn’t see them at all. if she goes to school in Brazil, at least she’d see them even if she were a year behind them. (they’re graduating in May....so they would be sophs when your dd would be a frosh.....so not 2 years behind)
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