Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Linda Lee
Helping Parents of U.S. Citizens Get a Green Card
If you are a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, you can help your parents apply for permanent residency status. This process allows you to help your family live and work legally in the country. If you are interested in helping your parents get a green card, we urge you to contact attorney Linda Lee of The Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C. to help you correctly manage the application process.
Benefits of a Green Card for Parents
As a U.S. citizen, the process of obtaining a green card, or permanent residency, for your parents can be a transformative and rewarding experience. Not only does it allow you to reunite with your loved ones, but it also opens the door to numerous benefits that can significantly enhance their quality of life. Let’s explore some of the key advantages that come with obtaining a green card for parents of U.S. citizens:
Permanent Residency and Unlimited Stay
One of the most significant benefits of obtaining a green card for your parents is the ability to live in the United States permanently. Unlike temporary visas that come with expiration dates, a green card grants your parents the right to stay in the U.S. indefinitely, offering them a sense of security and stability.
Green card holders are authorized to work in the United States without the need for separate work visas or employer sponsorship. This means that your parents can seek employment opportunities, pursue their passions, or engage in part-time work to supplement their income if desired.
Access to Social Services and Benefits
Green card holders have access to a wide range of social services and benefits, including healthcare, education, and social security benefits. This ensures that your parents can enjoy the same support systems that U.S. citizens receive, promoting their well-being and peace of mind.
While maintaining their green card status, your parents can travel internationally without jeopardizing their residency status. This means they can visit family, explore new places, and experience different cultures, all while having the assurance of returning to their home in the U.S.
Pathway to Citizenship
Obtaining a green card for your parents can be the first step toward their eventual eligibility for U.S. citizenship. After meeting the required residency period and other criteria, they may have the opportunity to apply for naturalization, further solidifying their ties to the United States.
Family Unity and Bonding
Reuniting with family members has immeasurable emotional benefits. Having your parents close by allows for shared experiences, strengthened relationships, and the opportunity to be present for important life events such as weddings, births, and graduations.
Inheritance and Property Ownership
Green card holders can own property, open bank accounts, and make investments in the United States. This can be particularly beneficial if your parents wish to establish a stable financial foundation or plan for the future.
If your parents have a desire to continue their education or pursue academic interests, having a green card can open doors to educational institutions across the country, providing them with the chance to broaden their knowledge and skills.
Eligibility Requirements US Citizen Petitioning for Parents
To be eligible for a green card as a parent of a U.S. citizen, the sponsoring individual must be at least 21 years old. The U.S. citizen child must also be a lawful permanent resident or a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization. Additionally, the sponsoring child must have a genuine parent-child relationship with the applicant, supported by appropriate documentation.
Process of Applying for Permanent Residency for Your Parents
The application process for a green card for parents of U.S. citizens typically involves the following steps:
1. Sponsorship: The U.S. citizen child files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS to establish the qualifying relationship with their parent. This form serves as the initial sponsorship petition.
2. Priority Date: Once USCIS approves the I-130 petition, the parent will receive a priority date, which establishes their place in the queue for visa processing. The wait time can vary, depending on the applicant’s country of origin and the overall demand for visas.
3. Visa Availability: The availability of visas for parents of U.S. citizens depends on the visa category and the individual’s country of origin. Some countries may have a shorter wait time for visa processing, while others may face longer backlogs.
4. Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status: If the parent is outside the U.S., they must go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. If the parent is already present in the U.S., they may be eligible for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS.
5. Green Card Interview: Both the sponsoring U.S. citizen child and the parent must attend an interview at a USCIS office or U.S. embassy/consulate. The purpose of the interview is to verify the authenticity of the relationship and the eligibility for the green card.
6. Approval and Green Card Issuance: After the interview, USCIS will make a decision on the green card application. If approved, the parent will receive their green card, granting them lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.
If your parent or parents already live in the U.S. they can file an application. The process, based upon their current legal status, includes applying for an adjustment of status. During the period of time that your parents are waiting for this application to process they must keep their current status in place. Both processes must be filed concurrently and must have all the required documentation if you hope to be successful in your petition.
If your parents reside in another country, the process is done by contacting the U.S. Consulate in the country in which they live. The immigration petition must await approval. Once the approval for the immigration petition arrives, it is necessary to supply all the information needed by the Department of State, including all forms correctly filled out and all the documentation they need to come to a decision with regard to your parents. Mrs. Lee can help you in any type of immigration legal matter, and is prepared to discuss your situation and advise you as to how she can can help you get this process completed in the least amount of time, at a reasonable rate.
NAVIGATING POTENTIAL CHALLENGES AND CONSIDERATIONS IN THE GREEN CARD PROCESS FOR PARENTS
Embarking on the journey to secure a green card for your parents as a U.S. citizen is undoubtedly a meaningful endeavor. However, it’s important to acknowledge that the path may come with certain challenges and considerations that require careful planning and attention. Let’s explore these potential challenges and offer insights on how to address them effectively.
- Age-Out Issues: In cases where your parents have children who are nearing the age of 21, there’s a concern known as “age-out.” If the child sponsoring the parents turns 21 before the green card process is completed, the parents may face changes in their eligibility criteria. It’s crucial to start the process early to avoid potential complications caused by the child aging out of eligibility.
- Quotas and Waiting Times: The availability of green cards is subject to annual quotas and country-based limits. Depending on your parents’ country of origin, there may be longer waiting times due to a high demand for green cards from that particular country. Being aware of these potential delays can help manage expectations and plan accordingly.
- Criminal History or Immigration Violations: Any history of criminal activity or immigration violations could impact the eligibility of your parents for a green card. It’s important to address any potential issues honestly and transparently, seeking legal advice if necessary. Certain criminal offenses can lead to inadmissibility or even deportation.
- Financial Requirements: As a U.S. citizen sponsoring your parents, you’ll need to meet certain financial requirements to prove your ability to support them financially. This involves submitting an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and demonstrating that your income meets or exceeds the required threshold. Failing to meet these requirements can lead to delays or denials.
- Document Preparation and Accuracy: The green card application process involves gathering and submitting a range of documents, from birth certificates to marriage certificates and more. Ensuring that all documents are accurate, translated if necessary, and properly submitted is essential to avoid delays or rejections. This is why it’s extremely important to contact one of our immigration attorneys who have vast experience in these types of cases.
- Consular Processing vs. Adjustment of Status: Choosing between consular processing (for parents outside the U.S.) and adjustment of status (for parents already in the U.S.) is an important decision. Each path has its own requirements, procedures, and potential challenges. Consulting with our immigration attorneys can help you make the right choice based on your specific circumstances.
- Language and Cultural Adjustment: Moving to a new country can be a significant adjustment, especially if there are language barriers and cultural differences to overcome. Helping your parents acclimate to their new environment can ease their transition and enhance their overall experience.
- Health Considerations: The green card process may require your parents to undergo medical examinations and vaccinations. Ensuring that their health records are up to date and addressing any health concerns in a timely manner is crucial.
If you have any questions about these considerations, please contact our law office today at (866) 935-3257. Our attorney will be happy to assist you.
Green Card for Parents of US Citizens Attorney Assistance
The green card process for parents of U.S. citizens offers an opportunity for families to be united and create lasting bonds within the United States. It is essential to follow the application process diligently, providing all necessary documentation and meeting the eligibility criteria. For guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of the green card application, seeking the expertise of our immigration attorney is recommended. With our knowledge and experience, we can ensure that the process is handled efficiently and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome, enabling parents to embrace their new life as lawful permanent residents in the United States alongside their U.S. citizen children.
Contact Los Angeles immigration attorney Linda Lee to discuss the application process for your parents.
Have Questions? Give us a Call at (213) 375-4084
Green Card for Parents of US Citizens FAQ
Can a non-US citizen, green card holder sponsor their parents?
Yes, as a U.S. lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you have the ability to sponsor your parents for immigration to the United States through the family-based immigration process. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney at ILOLA to navigate the family-based immigration process effectively, understand the requirements, and ensure that you meet all the eligibility criteria. Additionally, keep in mind that U.S. immigration laws and policies can change, so it’s essential to refer to the most up-to-date information provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).