Asked Questions and Answers
Q: As a U.S. citizen, what kind of family members can I sponsor for U.S. Green Card?
A: Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible for permanent resident status as immediate relatives. The U.S. citizen child must be 21 years of age or older to apply for a parent's immigration.
The process of completing and submitting an application of Green Card for your relatives can be confusing. You may submit an application for a Green Card if you have a close family relation. You can sponsor the following family members:
Husband or wife;
Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen;
Brother or sister (including half-brothers and half-sisters);
Son or daughter (including illegitimate children);
Stepson or stepdaughter;
Stepparent of a U.S. citizen child;
Adopted son or daughter;
Father or mother;
Battered or abused spouse or child.
Q: Who can be a beneficiary for U.S. immigration? and what are the immigration "preferences"?
A. The "immediate relatives" of a U.S. citizen, including parents, spouses, widows, and children of a U.S. Citizen (children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age), can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any visa numerical restrictions.
They can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time. The rest of the beneficiaries are divided into several groups called "preferences." Each preference is given a numerical quota per year to limit the number of immigrants admitted into the United States. The four preferences are as follows:
1st Preference: applies to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
2nd Preference: applies to spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents;
3rd Preference: applies to married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
4th Preference: siblings of U.S. citizens.
Q: What is the definition of "immediate relatives" of U.S. citizens?
A: Parents, unlike siblings, are considered by the USCIS as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. This means parents are given priority. However, before the Green Card process is started, U.S. citizens must have enough income or assets to support their parents. The USCIS will take the income into account when granting Green Cards to parents.
Children can get Green Cards for their parents as long as they are at least 21 years old. In fact, many individuals, such as parents, become permanent residents, also called a Green Card holder, through family members, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Q. How do I know if I qualify as a beneficiary or not?
A. Beneficiaries are strictly defined, and one has to meet the definition of its category at the time that the application of adjustment of status is approved. Those who do not meet the definitions cannot immigrate to the United States through family based immigration.
An "immediate relative" of a U.S. citizen is the spouse, parent, widow, or child of the U.S. citizen. Specifically, a "child" is the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, who is unmarried and under the age of 21. An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child's 16th birthday. A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild's 18th birthday. A "parent" must meet the same test as for the "child". One thing to point out is that a father-in-law or mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen are not "parents" of the U.S. citizen for immigration purposes.
Q: What kind of child-parent relation is qualified for U.S. immigration application?
A: Make sure your parents fall into any of these categories:
Natural father or natural mother;
Stepfather or stepmother, if he or she married your parent before you were 18 years old;
Adopted father or adopted mother, if you were adopted before you turned 16 years old.
Q: How to sponsor U.S. citizen's parents Green Card application?
A: There are many questions surrounding Permanent Residency, Citizenship, and how family members, spouses, and children may benefit. It is important for individuals to know what family members they might be able to bring to the United States permanently.
U.S. permanent residents may sponsor neither their parents nor siblings for a Green Card. Only U.S. citizens may do this. However, even U.S. citizens may not bring siblings to the U.S. without an extended waiting period. Parents of U.S. citizens are regarded as "immediate relatives" and are not subject to numerical limitations. They only have to wait for the necessary paperwork processing. This includes the Form I-130 application in the immediate relative category and consular processing for immigrant visa, if the parent is abroad.
If the U.S. citizen's parent happens to be in the U.S., then it may be possible to file the Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time and obtain permanent residence from within the U.S.
Q: Is there any age requirement to sponsor my mother immigration to United Stats?
A: Yes, there is an age requirement to sponsor a U.S. citizen's parents immigration to United Stats. If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to petition for an immigrant visa for your parents to live and work permanently in the United States. If you are a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident, you are not eligible to apply to bring your parents to live and work permanently in the United States.
Q: How do I know if my father is eligible for a U.S. Green Card?
A: If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to petition to bring your parent to live and work permanently in the United States as a Green Card holder. As the sponsor of your parent, you must show that your household income is sufficient to support your family and your brother or sister at 125% or more above the U.S. poverty level for your household size.
Q: What are the eligibility requirements to sponsor my parent for a U.S. Green Card?
A: The United States promotes family unity and allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. This includes the U.S. citizen’s mother and father. In order to file an immigrant petition for your parent, you must be a U.S. citizen and you must be at least 21 years of age. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident, you are not eligible to sponsor your parent for U.S. Green Card.
Also, the U.S. citizen must be residing in the United States and be willing to financially sponsor the parents for a period of up to ten years. If the child does not have the financial resources to sponsor the parent, a family member or friend can help with the financial sponsorship. A Green Card for parents of lawful permanent resident is not available; a Green Card cannot be obtained for the parent of a Green Card holder until the child takes the oath of U.S. citizenship.
Q: As a Green Card holder, how can I bring my mother to United States?
A: Permanent residents may not bring parents to live permanently in the United States. After you become a citizen of the United States, you may help your parents become lawful permanent residents of the United States. To do so, you need to sponsor your parent. You are eligible to get a Green Card for parents if you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. You also must be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your parent when they come to the U.S.
Q: Can I sponsor other family members for U.S. Green Card application, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents?
A: More distant relatives, such as aunts / uncles, cousins, and grandparents cannot be sponsored for a Green Card. Even U.S. citizens cannot petition for these relatives. It may be possible to invite them for a temporary visit on a visitor's visa, depending upon whether they have sufficient ties to their respective home countries to show that they have no immigrant intent.
Of course, they may also be sponsored if they are qualified and the sponsoring relative owns a business, or is able to find employment for the foreign national relative under the employment-based preference categories.
Q: What are the basic steps to sponsor my parent for a U.S. Green Card?
A: Sponsoring your parent for a U.S. Green Card is a two-step process. The first step is the "Immigrant Petition" which establishes that a qualifying relationship exists between the sponsor and the foreign parent. The second step is the application for the Green Card.
If the foreign parent is in the U.S., then it may be possible to file the Immigrant Petition (Form I-130) and Green Card Application (Form I-485) at the same time. This is known as "concurrent filing". If your parent is outside the U.S., then the "Green Card" application will be made at a U.S. consulate in his or her country of residence.
Q: What is the application process for my parents immigration?
A: The application process depends on whether the alien parent is inside or outside of the United States. If the alien parent is already within the United States in a nonimmigrant status, the U.S. citizen can file an immigration petition (Form I-130), and the parent can file an application to adjust status to permanent resident (I-485) at the same time.
If the alien parent is outside of the United States, the U.S. citizen should file an immigration petition (Form I-130), and request that USCIS notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where the parent lives. The USCIS sends the approval notice to the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department, who then sends “Packet 3” to the U.S. citizen. After the necessary forms are completed, the parent goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa. The parent becomes a U.S. permanent resident when he or she enters the United States on an immigrant visa.
Q: My parents are currently in United States, how to apply for Green Card for them?
A: In order to obtain a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens when the parent is located in the United States, the U.S. citizen and foreign national parent will apply for the Green Card using the Adjustment of Status process - Form I-485 application. Because the foreign national parent is considered to be the immediate relative of the U.S. citizen child, many issues that would make adjustment of status impossible for another type immigrant will be waived for the parent.
Q: My parents entered U.S. legally, but overstayed here. How to apply for Green Card for them in this case?
A: Some parents who are presently in the United States unlawfully can take advantage of the Adjustment of Status process, and stay in the U.S. for the duration of processing, while other types of Green Card applicants would need to return to the home country and apply there. However, parents who entered the United States without inspection (EWI) may not be permitted to stay in United States and adjust status.
If the parent entered the U.S. legally, he or she can do an Adjustment of Status within U.S. The parent of a U.S. citizen does not have to be in legal status in U.S. Also, the immigrant petition for parents of a U.S. citizen has no numerical limits.
Q: My parents are outside the United States, how to apply for Green Card for them?
A: The process for obtaining a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens where the parents are located outside the US is a little different than if the parents are in the U.S. In order to obtain a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens where the parents are currently in a foreign country, the U.S. citizen child begins the process by submitting a petition to USCIS from within the United States.
Once USCIS approves the initial immediate relative petition, the application package moves to the U.S. State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) where each party to the application (parent and child) will be responsible for completing individual tasks.
Q: My parents are outside the United States, how to provide financial support and other documents?
A: The U.S. citizen child must complete and submit a satisfactory affidavit form of support with Form I-864, in which the child agrees to be financially responsible for the parent for a period of up to ten years. The foreign national parent, on the other hand, will be responsible for completing U.S. State Department visa forms and gathering necessary vital records from government officials, such as birth certificates and police certificates.
Q: Is it possible for me to file an immigration petition for my mother-in-law?
A: The parents of a spouse are not considered “parents” for immigration purposes. In other words, a U.S. citizen may not sponsor an immigrant petition for a father-in-law or mother-in-law. The spouse may petition for parents if that spouse is a U.S. citizen.
Q: Is it possible for me file an immigration petition for my step-father?
A: If the U.S. citizen is a stepchild of the alien parent, the marriage creating the stepchild relationship must have been taken place before the child's 18th birthday.
Q: As an adopted children, is it possible for me file an immigration petition for my parents?
A: If the U.S. citizen child is adopted, the adoption must have been finalized before the child's 16th birthday. Furthermore, the parent must have had legal custody of the child for at least two years, either before or after the adoption. The child must also have resided with the adoptive parent for at least two years either before or after the adoption.
Q: My father is visiting us with B2 visa in U.S. How can I apply for immigration for him?
A: You begin the parent Green Card application process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. If your parents are already in the U.S. and entered legally, then they may be able to file an I-485 application to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident at the same time as you file the I-130 relative petition.
Q: Is there any numerical restrictions for parents immigration each year?
A: Parents of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical restrictions. Parents of U.S. citizens have special immigration priority, and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate, because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.
Q: My mother is already in the United States. What is the procedure for fingerprints and interview?
A: A sponsoring son or daughter can file the immigrant petition (Form I-130) and Green Card application (Form I-485) with USCIS, and the USCIS will process these applications. Within a few months, the parent may receive a fingerprint appointment.
USCIS will also schedule an interview at the local USCIS office. At the interview, the officer can approve the Green Card, or ask for additional evidence or hold until the applicant’s security clearance and fingerprints have been cleared by the FBI.
Q: My father is in his home country. What is the procedure for his immigrant interview?
A: A sponsoring son or daughter first needs to file the immigrant petition (Form I-130) with USCIS, and the USCIS will forward the petition to the National Visa Center for security checks and other processing. The NVC will then forward the petition to the U.S. Consulate in the parent’s home country. The parent will need to go to interview at the U.S. Consulate in the parent’s home country, and then enters the U.S. as a Green Card holder
Q: How to apply for work permit for my parents who are in U.S. already?
A: After filing for an Adjustment of Status, the parents can apply for an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) and a permit (Advanced Parole) to travel out of the U.S., while awaiting the status adjustment interview.
Q: How long does the immigration process take if the parents are outside the U.S.?
A: If the parents are not present in the U.S., they will have their interview in the U.S. consulate or embassy in their country. This process takes about one year in most consulates.
Q: Can my mother bring my 15 years old sister together to U.S. after my I-130 for them approved?
A: Because an immediate relative cannot be accompanied by anyone else on their petition, the under 21 year old unmarried children of the parent cannot get U.S. residence along with the parent. The U.S. citizen will have to file for his/her siblings separately, or the parent can file for their other unmarried children when they receive their own U.S. permanent residence.
Q: Do I need to submit Form I-864 as evidence of financial support?
A: The U.S. citizen petitioner needs to submit an affidavit of support (Form I-864) to show that the beneficiary will not become a public charge. One thing to note is that anyone submit an affidavit of support for a permanent resident case must be actually residing in the U.S. at the time the affidavit of support is submitted.
Therefore, children born in the U.S. but residing in another country will need to move back earlier to the U.S. and live in the U.S. in order to apply for their parents. This is a requirement for all petitions of relative petitioners.
Q: Does my father need to get Work Permits to work in U.S.?
A: Your parent does not need to apply for a work permit once they are admitted as an immigrant with their Green Card (immigrant visa), or have already been approved for adjustment to permanent resident status. As a legal permanent resident, your parent should receive a Permanent Resident Card (commonly referred to as a 'Green Card') that will prove that your parent has a right to live and work in the United States permanently.
If your parent is now outside the United States, he will receive a passport stamp upon arrival in the United States. This stamp will prove that he is allowed to work until a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) is created.
If your parent is in the U.S. and has applied to adjust to permanent resident status (by filing USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), he is eligible to apply for a work permit while their case is pending. Your brother or sister should use USCIS Form I-765 to apply for a work permit.
Q: My father entered the U.S. without inspection, can he adjusts his status in United States?
A: If the alien parent entered the U.S. without inspection (illegally, without passport or visa), as a general rule, he will have to return to the native country and have the interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate there.
Q: How to file the I-130 petition for my mother?
A: The I-130 form is used to request an immigrant visa for an alien relative. You need to attach proof of your citizenship or naturalization, such as naturalization certificate or a U.S. passport. You should submit the petition to the appropriate USCIS address. When filing the I-130 petition, also you need to attach the required documents proving the beneficiary's relationship with you.
If your mother is already in the U.S., she may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status in U.S. by submitting Form I-485 -- Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.
Q: To sponsor both my father and mother immigration to United States, do I need to file two Form I-130, or just file one Form I-130?
A: When both parents are sponsored, two separate Form I-130 applications need to be completed. Since parents are considered a priority, or immediate relative, Form I-130 allows parents to reach the front of the line. This means that parents would not have to wait to immigrate to the U.S.
People should properly fill out the Form I-130, also called Petition for Alien Relative Application. This application form is the first step in the Green Card process, because it establishes the child-parent relationship.
Q: My mother is in U.S., can I fill Form I-130 and Form I-485 concurrently? Do I need to submit Form I-864 - Affidavit of Support?
A: The Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status, or Form I-485, can be filled out concurrently at the same time with Form I-130. However, Form I-485 can also be filed after the I-130 petition approval. You should submit the Form I-864 that would help to support your claim that you can financially support your parents.
Q: My wife and I are aliens working in the U.S. My 5 year old son was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Can he file an immigration petition for us now?
A. No, he cannot file immigration petition for you based on your parent-child relationship until he reaches the age of 21, and he also needs to have financial ability to support you at that time.
Q: I will become a U.S. citizen in one year. What is the earliest time that I can file for my parents to get their Green Cards?
A: As soon as you take the U.S. citizenship oath. You cannot file for them before your U.S. citizenship.
Q: As a Green Card holder from Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program, can I petition to bring my parents and siblings to the United States? I am 23 years old. Must I first get U.S. citizenship before I petition for my family?
A You cannot petition for your parents or siblings until you become U.S. citizen. A permanent resident can petition only for a spouse and/or unmarried children.
The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is available to children who are being supervised by a court, or who have been committed to the custody of a state agency. The children must have been found eligible for long-term foster care. Nothing in the SIJS law prevents a U.S. citizen who got permanent residence under the SIJS rules from petitioning for parents or siblings later.
Q: I am a U.S. citizen. I want to petition for my parents and my brother. I know I must file separately for my brother, and that he will have to wait abroad for many years. However, he is mentally disabled and totally dependent on my parents. They cannot leave him behind. Does the law provide for any way for my brother to come here when my parents get their immigrant visas?
A: In rare and especially deserving cases, the USCIS will allow someone not immediately eligible for a visa to come to United States under a status called "humanitarian parole." When your parents get called for their immigrant visa interviews, that they speak to a U.S. consular officer about the matter. If the officer would not help, they can apply for your brother directly to the USCIS
Your parents should include a detailed letter explaining your brother's situation, with evidence from a doctor about his condition. They should also document that they have the resources to care for him. Humanitarian parole allows someone outside the United States to enter without a visa. It is available only in very unusual circumstances, where a particularly deserving person either doesn't qualify for a visa or doesn't have time to get one.
Though the USCIS discourages use of humanitarian parole to bypass normal visa processing procedures, in very rare cases the agency grants parole to individuals who cannot care for themselves when their parents immigrate.
Q: I have a temporary Green Card now through marriage with a U.S. citizen, and will submit I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) next month. My parents are willing to come over as soon as possible. Do I actually need to wait to get the U.S. citizenship to apply for them?
A: you cant petition your parents after you become a U.S. citizen. Waiting for your U.S. citizenship is the fastest and only way you can petition your parents.
Q: How to check the status of a Green Card application for my parents?
A: You may check the status of your application or case online, by phone, or by contacting an appropriate USCIS office. You may also want to review U.S. Visa Wait Times and USCIS Immigration Processing Times. For assistance outside of the U.S., contact the nearest U.S. Consulate. For assistance within the U.S., contact your nearest USCIS District Office or Sub Office, or call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283
If the visa petition you filed for a Green Card for your parents is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C.
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