If you would like to sponsor your parent(s) for a green card (permanent residency) you must be:
- a U.S. citizen (by birth or naturalization); and
- at least 21 years old,
Parents are considered immediate relatives, rather than a preference category (that must follow the dates as listed on a visa bulletin, which in most cases, increases the wait time a person has before being eligible to file for the green card). As immediate relatives, parents get to be “first” in line, as opposed to the other preference-based family categories.
For parents, there is not a statutory number of visas allowed, but rather there is an unlimited number of visas available. So, the wait time is not as long.
If your parent is living abroad
If your parent is living abroad, the first step in sponsoring a parent for a green card is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with USCIS.
In order to be successful in filing an I-130 you must establish a relationship between you and your parent. It is extremely important to submit as much evidence to prove and demonstrate a valid relationship. Again, the purpose of filing Form I-130 is to establish the legitimacy of the relationship between you and parent. The current USCIS filing fee (at the time of this publication) is $535.00 per I-130 application. Please check the USCIS website for accurate filing fees, as they do change.
When the I-130 petition is approved, USCIS has approved that a valid relationship exists and that a visa number has been requested. The approval of an I-130 petition is not the grant of permanent residency, meaning your parent is not issued a green card at this time. It simply means the recognition by the U.S. government that you have a valid relationship.
The next step is for your parent to apply for permanent residency, and the application will only be reviewed after the I-130 petition has been approved. Once the I-130 is approved, USCIS will then transfer your case to the National Visa Center (NVC). It is here where your parent will need to submit their Immigrant Visa Application, civil documents, police reports, and you (as the Petitioner) must submit an affidavit of support (Form I-864) and the appropriate supporting documents.
Once the NVC is satisfied that everything is in order, the case will be transferred to the appropriate U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad. Your parent will then need to attend a consular interview, where a determination is made on their eligibility and admissibility to become a permeant resident of the United States. This process is known as consular processing.
If you parent is currently living in the U.S.
If the parent that you are sponsoring, gained legal entry into the United States (through a visa or other means), then later decided to apply for a green card, he or she may be eligible to file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, concurrently or at the same time as the Form I-130 petition.
When filed concurrently, the green card application will be processed more quickly. There is no need to go through the National Visa Center; you and your parent will attend an immigration interview together at your local district USCIS office. When you are filing for a green card within the United States, the process is known as adjustment of status.
Attorney DiSisto is well versed and has many years of experience in filing via consular processing and stateside adjustment of status applications. Please contact DiSisto, Law, PC to schedule a consultation so that we may assist you in the very important process of filing for your parent.