If you are a native-born or naturalized U.S. citizen and your parents are citizens of another country, they are eligible to come and live permanently in the U.S.
U.S. immigration law currently prioritizes family reunification. That means U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can file family petitions on behalf of close relatives to enable them to immigrate to the U.S. and reunify with family.
Immediate relative petitions, which include green-card petitions for parents, are not limited by quotas and typically take one year to process.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help with all family petitions.
A U.S. citizen must be at least 21 years old to sponsor a parent for a green card. A U.S. citizen must be cautious about timing and should speak with an immigration attorney about the process to make sure the citizen is eligible to apply on behalf of a parent.
A parent is eligible for a green card if:
- Your child is at least 21 years old.
- You are the biological, adoptive, or step-parent.
- You have a financial sponsor. Each relative who comes to the U.S. based on a U.S. citizen’s petition must have a financial sponsor. If your sibling will be your sponsor, she or he must file Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support). If your adult child doesn’t meet the financial qualifications, another individual will need to make the commitment and file Form I-864 on your behalf.
The parents of a U.S. citizen may apply for a green card from either inside or outside the United States. A separate petition must be filled out for each parent.
If the parent of the U.S. citizen is already in the U.S. legally, the petitioner must be cautious about the timing of the filing. As stated before, we recommend consulting with an immigration attorney. Once that is done, the quickest and easiest way to apply is as follows:
- A parent fills out Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).
- The U.S. citizen child fills out Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
- The financial sponsor fills out Form I-864.
- Submit all forms along with all supporting evidence, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If the parent of the U.S. citizen is outside the U.S., the parent may apply to become a permanent resident at a U.S. embassy or consulate, also known as consular processing. To apply, the following steps must be taken:
- The U.S. citizen must fill out and submit Form I-130 and supporting evidence to USCIS.
- If USCIS approves the petition, the U.S. Department of State will invite the parent to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.
- The parent should pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee after receiving an immigrant visa packet from the U.S. embassy or consulate where the parent applied and before traveling to the U.S.
- Once the parent is in the U.S., the parent should submit Form I-485 along with supporting evidence to USCIS for a green card (permanent residency).
We Can Help
Figuring out immigration law can be difficult and confusing. The Alcorn Immigration Law team can help. Questions? Contact us.