Parent

Parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old  are deemed “Immediate Relatives.” As such there are no per country limitations on the availability of an immigrant visa. Only U.S. citizens can sponsor their parents; there is no current immigrant sponsorship for Lawful Permanent Residents to petition for their parents. Further, only U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years old may sponsor their parents.

Stepparents:  A U.S. citizen may sponsor their natural parents as well as their stepparents. However, an adopted child can only sponsor

Adoption impact: If the U.S. citizen obtained an immigration benefit through their adoptive parents (i.e. received the Green Card), then s/he cannot sponsor their biological parents or family members. However, if the U.S. citizen obtained an immigration benefit through some other basis, (i.e. employment, marriage, asylum, etc.) then s/he may still be able to sponsor their biological parents and siblings. However, to do so, they would have to have the adoption terminated in court and re-establish the parent-child relationship.

Lawful Permanent Resident required to live in the U.S. Sometimes parents who have spent most of their lives in their own country are hesitant to live long term. For the Green Card though, once the parent becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident, then it is expected that they spend most of their time in the U.S. as opposed to being abroad. If they anticipate spending more time outside of the U.S. for any reason then they should file a “Re-Entry” permit before going abroad for absences of more than 1 year.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

If the parent is outside of the U.S. then they may file through consular processing for an immigrant visa. These two options are described further below.

  1. Adjustment of Status – if the parent is already in the U.S.
  2. Consular Processing – if the parent is outside of the U.S.

Adjustment of Status (Parent Already In the U.S.)

One Step: Concurrent Filing. If the foreign parent is in the U.S., then an Immigrant Petition (I-130) and the Green Card application (I-485) can be concurrently filed.

Read More

The U.S. citizen must submit evidence of citizenship such as Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate, U.S. Passport, etc. The U.S. citizen will also provide an Affidavit of Support. Sometimes a joint financial sponsor may be required. The parent provides evidence of their birth certificate, marriage certificate or evidence of termination of any prior marriage(s). As some of these documents may not be available, MPLG can help identify alternative documents.

At the time of filing, the foreign parent can also apply for interim benefits such as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP). The foreign parent should not travel while the case is pending unless they have advance parole, otherwise the application will be deemed abandoned. Unless over the age of 79 years, the foreign parent will receive an appointment for biometrics.

Interview:  USCIS may waive an interview. However, if interviewed both the U.S. petitioner and parent must attend together. The foreign parent must submit a medical exam either when filing the case, in response to a request for evidence, or at the time of the interview. If approved, a Green Card will be mailed to their U.S. address.

Resources: Below we have compiled some helpful resources including a Flowchart, Checklist, and Interview Logistics guide. Visit our resource tabs above for more information about the Affidavit of Support  and the Public Charge Questionnaire .

Flowchart

Adjustment of Status Family-Based Immediate Relative of U.S. Citizen Schematic (Parent Already In the U.S.)

Checklist

CHECKLIST FOR FAMILY BASED GREENCARD - SPOUSE (Immediate Relative already in the U.S.)

Immigrant Visa Consular Processing (Parent Outside the U.S.):
If the foreign parent is outside the U.S., then the immigrant visa (IV) is issued abroad. This process has 3 stages.

Read More

Stage 1: I-130 Petition with USCIS. The U.S. child files an Immigrant Petition (Form I-130) with USCIS. In support the U.S. citizen submits evidence of citizenship such as Birth Certificate, Naturalization Certificate, U.S. Passport, etc. and evidence of the parental relationship, usually this is their Birth Certificate. For fathers, evidence of parents’ marital relationship should also be provided.

Stage 2: Immigrant Visa Application with National Visa Center. The foreign parent submits online a completed Form DS-260, along with their civil documents, and the U.S. citizen submits an Affidavit of Support. The NVC will then transfer the case to a U.S. Consulate.

Stage 3: Consulate Interview. The U.S. citizen is not required for this. The foreign parent will get their fingerprints and medical exam done prior to the interview. After a successful interview an immigrant visa is stamped into the  petition. The foreign parent should travel to the U.S during the pendency of the immigrant visa, at which point the foreign parent will become a Lawful Permanent Resident upon entering the U.S. and a Green Card will be mailed to their U.S. address.

Resources: We have compiled some helpful resources including a Flowchart, Checklist, and Interview Logistics guide. Visit our resource pages for more information about the Affidavit of Support  and the Public Charge Questionnaire .

Flowchart

Consular Processing for Family Based Immigrant Visa (I-130) Schematic

Checklist

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative Checklist (Parent)