Family Visas & Green Cards: Petitioning for the Parent of a U.S. Citizen

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Get a Green Card for your Mother or Father!

How do I bring my parents to the United States to live? How can a person get a Green Card for their Parents? What is the first step for getting my mother or father Lawful Permanent Residency?

Millions of people have asked these same questions in the United States. The process of obtaining lawful permanent residency, also known as a Green Card, is impossible for most people. It is difficult thing to do for others, but for a very few the process is possible and relatively fast. The people in this group include parents of US Citizens.

Can I apply for a Green Card for my parents?
Only US Citizens older than 21 years of age (not Lawful permanent Residents) can apply for their parents.

How long do my parents have to wait to get a Visa?
Parents of US Citizens are considered and categorized as "Immediate Relatives." As such they do not have to "wait" for a Visa. However, they still have to undergo regular petition and application processing times until they are granted a Green Card

What is the first step to getting my parents a Green Card?

I always recommend having a consultation with an immigration attorney first. There are many issues that can create problems for the application that people not trained or experienced in immigration law are not aware. However, the first technical step is to begin preparing the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. Each parent requires a separate I-130 form, which must include additional documents and information as part of the Green Card package.

What do I need to file a Petition for Alien Relative Parent (Form I-130)?
This form has to be filled out with the necessary information of the Petitioner (US Citizen child above the age of 21) and the Beneficiary (Foreign national parent). You will also need to prove the parent-child relationship through documents such as birth certificates. Marriage certificates for the Petitioner child and Beneficiary parents will also be needed. Additional documents may be required for adoptive relationships or in scenarios where the parent did not raise the Petitioner for a portion of this childhood.

What is Adjustment of Status, and how is that different that Consular Processing?
Adjustment of Status is a request separate from the Petition for Alien relative. It is made when the Beneficiary parent is located in the US and is applying for the Green Card. This application, Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status and can be filed alongside the Form I-130 in most cases where the beneficiary had lawfully entered the US with a Visa. 

If the Beneficiary Parent is not in the USA, they must first wait for the approval of Form I-130. Once approved, the US Immigration Department ("USCIS") will send the case file to the National Visa Center ("NVC"). The NVC will contact the Petitioner and request original or certified copies of civil documents, along with a completed Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. Once the Petitioner or Attorney has submitted these documents to the satisfaction of the NVC, the case will be sent to the local US Embassy or Consulate to complete Consular processing.

Both of these steps usually include an interview of the beneficiary, before a Green Card is granted.

What is the Affidavit of Support?
This is a form required as part of the application process that shows a US person (the Petitioner or someone else) can support the Beneficiary immigrant so that they will not come to the US and become a Public Charge. 

How do I know if I qualify to be a Sponsor for the Affidavit of Support?
You can find the chart on Form I-864p (Poverty Guidelines) that will help you. You need to add yourself, the number of your dependents, and the number of potential immigrants you may be supporting. Your annual income based on your recent tax return must be more than the dollar amount listed on the chart for a person of your household size. Co-sponsors and other's may potentially have to submit such Affidavits as well.

How do I receive my Green Card?
After a successful Adjustment of Status or Consular Process interview, the Green Card will be mailed to the address on record. For Consular Processing, a separate online request must be made.

Where do I file the Petition for Alien Relative?
The USCIS website has addresses to mail the form to depending on the US State the petitioner is located in.

What are fees are required for a Family Based Green Card?
In addition to the filing fees for the I-130, I485 or Consular Processing, you will likely be required to pay a fee for medical check-ups and receiving the physical Green Card. Citizens of many countries will incur translation expenses as well.

Importantly, a potential Petitioner or Beneficiary should consult an attorney, especially if there was ever a period of unlawful status, previous immigration court appearances, removal or voluntary departure, or criminal history. Moreover, there are country specific issues that exist that require attorney research to prevent problems emerging that can cause delays or potential damage the case.

The JQK Immigration Law Firm is very skilled and experienced in these types of cases and can provide excellent personal attorney attention to the processing of your parents Petition. Please email or call our office to discuss further. 

The attorneys of the JQK Law Firm speak multiple languages, including Spanish, Farsi (Persian), Armenian, and Korean and help people from across the world including Vietnam, Russia, France, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Iran and dozens of other countries. Contact us now.

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