Green Cards for Parents of U.S. Citizens: A Comprehensive Guide


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Explore this detailed guide on obtaining Green Cards for parents of U.S. citizens, featuring experienced insights from The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A. Learn about eligibility, the application process, and how we can help.

An Overview of the Parental Green Card Process

Did you know that as a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your foreign-born parents to become lawful permanent residents? This unique privilege reflects the principle of family unity, which is one of the goals of the U.S. immigration system.

Obtaining a Green Card will grant your parents the legal right to live and work permanently in the U.S. and an opportunity to become U.S. citizens after a while.

However, the parental Green Card process, like other immigration processes, is complex, and even the most determined applicant could find it difficult to understand the process’s intricate requirements. That’s where we come in.

 At The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., we know that having your parent(s) close to you is important for your peace of mind. As you strive to help them acquire a Green Card, we can guide you through the immigration process, help you understand the eligibility requirements set by the immigration authorities, and prepare a solid Green Card application to help your parents achieve permanent resident status as quickly as possible. 

Please read on as we explain the basics of the parental Green Card process to help you prepare for the journey ahead.

Eligibility Criteria for Parental Green Cards

As a U.S. citizen, your biological parents, and in some circumstances, adoptive parents and step-parents qualify as your immediate relatives, which makes them eligible for a Green Card.

However, the immigration authorities will not issue them Green Cards just because they are eligible. You (the U.S. citizen child ) and the parent you wish to sponsor must establish that you meet certain basic legal requirements, including the following:

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must have the capacity to support your immigrant parent(s) financially (This means your income must be 125 percent above the federal poverty level, or be able to obtain a co-sponsor).
  • Your parent(s) must meet the legal requirements for admissibility into the U.S., which include passing a medical exam and not having committed previous immigration violations.

The Application Process Summarized 

The parental Green Card application process can be summarized as follows:

Filing the Immigrant Petition 

As the sponsor, you are responsible for initiating the parental Green Card process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is used to establish the family relationship between you and your parent (the applicant). 

You must complete and file the form accurately because the entire Green Card application hinges on its approval.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

The Green Card application procedure depends on whether the applicant is within or outside the U.S.

If they are outside the U.S., they will need to go through consular processing. In that case, they must wait until the USCIS sends the approved I-130 petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will ensure that you and the applicant provide the minimum paperwork required by the consular officers before forwarding the case file to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the applicant resides.

However, if the applicant is already within the U.S., they may qualify for adjustment of status. This process would allow them to transition to lawful permanent resident status and obtain a Green Card without leaving the U.S.

Concurrent Filing 

Usually, applicants for adjustment of status must wait for approval on their immigrant petition (Form I-130) before they can file Form I-485 (the adjustment of status application form). However, because your parents are your immediate relatives, they can file Forms I-130 and I-485 at the same time. The process is formally called concurrent filing and helps to shorten the adjustment of status processing time for those who qualify. 

Required Documentation 

Certain documents must be submitted when filing the necessary immigration forms and at other points during the immigration process to establish the parent-child relationship and prove that you and your parent(s) meet all other eligibility requirements.

 They include the following:

  • An Affidavit of Support that confirms that you have the financial capacity to support your parent (s) so they do not have to rely on government benefits to survive.
  • Your birth or adoption certificate.
  • Evidence of your U.S. citizenship.

The documents you’ll need vary depending on which parent (between your mother and father) is applying for a Green Card. Our family immigration lawyer can clarify the distinction and help you identify the specific documents needd for a successful application based on your unique situation.

Attending the Interview

The applicant may need to attend a Green Card/immigrant visa interview with the USCIS or at the U.S. embassy or consulate, depending on their location.

During the interview, the immigration officer will discuss the application and examine the accompanying documents to ensure that the applicant meets the legal requirements for a Green Card.

This interview often throws candidates off balance, so it is important that your parents are well-prepared beforehand to avoid any issues or mistakes.

The Decision

The immigration authorities will decide on the application after a thorough review. If the application is approved, your parent(s) will subsequently be issued a Green Card if they are already in the U.S.

If your parents are outside the U.S., they would be issued an immigrant visa, which would allow them to travel to the U.S. Once they are admitted into the country by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP ) officials, they’ll be sent their Green Cards within a short time.

Potential Challenges and Solutions

Documentation Errors

We would like to emphasize that the above summary is an overly simplified version of the Green Card process created to aid your understanding. In reality, Green Card applications are not as linear as presented.

Because of the complexities involved, mistakes during the process are common. These mistakes can cause processing delays or lead to a denial of the application, which could require the applicant to start the process afresh.

Legal guidance is crucial at every stage of the process to minimize or avoid such issues and ensure that your dreams of reuniting with your parent(s) are not unduly delayed.

Establishing the Parent-Child Relationship

Another problem parental Green Card petitioners often face is proving the parent-child relationship.

As stated earlier, you need to prove this relationship by providing certain documents that validate your connection to your parents.

Now, here’s where things get tricky. Many people are unaware that the documents required vary depending on which parent they are applying for (as we stated earlier).

For mothers, the only document needed to prove this relationship is the child’s birth certificate showing the mother’s name. However, for fathers, the documents needed depend on whether the U.S. citizen sponsor’s parents were married or whether they were born out of wedlock. The documentation also varies if the applicant is a step-parent or adoptive parent.

Submitting the wrong documentation could lead to processing delays, but we are here to ensure that this is not your fate.

With our experience, we can assess your case and the nature of your parental relationship and help you identify the specific documents you need to sponsor your parents based on your unique circumstances so there’s no room for error.

Contact The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva P.A. for Help With the Parental Green Card Process

The intricate requirements of the parental Green Card application process can make things difficult.

But if you’re stuck in the middle of the process or you are unsure how to start, our seasoned family immigration lawyer can guide you through the process, help you understand the criteria that you and your parent(s) must meet, and meticulously prepare/ review the immigration documents to increase your chances of success.,

Our track record as a reputable immigration law firm speaks for itself, and we take pride in our ability to help many individuals and families achieve their American dreams under our guidance.

Contact us today if you’re ready to begin the Green Card process on your parents’ behalf and would like our help. Let us help you move forward with our tailored legal strategies and understanding guidance.


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