Legal Considerations

On This Page: Notary Public Parental Power of AttorneyPublic AssistanceCar Seat Usage LawLeaving Children AloneDomestic Violence • Children Born in the U.S.

If you plan to bring your spouse or child to the United States there are some legal considerations you should be aware of. It is important to know about the laws designed to ensure the safety of your family members. Failure to follow these laws can result in fines or arrest.

Notary Public

While you're in the U.S., you may need someone to formally witness and confirm your identity while signing documents. The Arizona Secretary of State authorizes notaries public to authenticate documents. Usually they will charge a small fee to provide a verification seal on the document.

Notary Search

Parental Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that lets you authorize another adult to sign documents and make decisions on your behalf. A Parental Power of Attorney lets you authorize another adult to make decisions for your child. Examples include signing your child up for a school activity and authorizing a medical procedure. The forms must be signed by a notary public.

Public Assistance

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, individuals applying for a visa, entry to the U.S. or a green card are inadmissible to the United States if they are likely to become a public charge. For this reason, the Foreign Affairs Manual instructs visa consular officers to confirm that students "will not become a public charge nor be compelled to take unauthorized employment while studying in the United States" before issuing a student visa. You should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for information and guidance on eligibility for public benefits.

Car Seat Usage Law

Children under 4 feet 9 inches (145 cm) and 8 years old must be secured in a car seat when riding in a car at all times. Read Car Seat Safety for instructions for buying and installing a car seat. Pima County occasionally hosts car seat safety programs and offers free car seats.

Car seat laws vary from state to state. Research car seat safety laws for your destination before traveling.

Leaving Children Alone

Arizona laws do not specify how old your children must be before you can leave them home alone. However, state laws require the Arizona Department of Child Safety to investigate reports of neglect. If investigators find a child is at an "unreasonable risk of harm," they may remove the child from the home.

Domestic Violence

In Arizona, domestic violence is defined as almost any criminal act of abuse (assault or battery, assault or battery with a weapon, criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, threatening, kidnapping, witness intimidation) committed by one family or household member against another.

If you are in imminent danger or are seriously injured and need medical assistance, call 911.

Students can contact Survivor Advocacy for support. The City of Tucson also provides resources for victims of domestic violence that are available to all community members, including F-2 and J-2 dependents.

Children Born in the U.S.

Anyone born in the United States who is subject to U.S. jurisdiction is a U.S. citizen at birth. U.S. law allows dual citizenship, so your child may also be eligible for citizenship in your home country. Contact your home country embassy for more information.