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What To Know Before Applying For a Green Card For Your Parents

For parents of U.S. citizens, a green card allows them to become permanent residents of the United States. To qualify for a green card, parents must meet certain requirements, including being a parent of a U.S. citizen who is 21 or older.  This blog post will discuss the process of obtaining a green card for parents, including the eligibility requirements and the application process.

The process can take anywhere between 1 to 2 years to complete and involves a number of steps, such as submitting the necessary immigration forms, supporting documents, attending interviews (if parents reside abroad), and undergoing medical exams. Once the application is approved, the parents can enter the U.S. as permanent residents and receive their green cards. Becoming a permanent resident gives parents the opportunity to live and work in the U.S. and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.

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How to Get a Green Card for Your Parents 

If you are a US citizen over 21 years old, you can petition USCIS to obtain green card for parents. To do so, you must file Form I-130 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and provide documentation of your relationship with your parents, such as your birth certificate, your parents’ marriage certificate, as well as any other required evidence. The processing time can vary depending on the current backlog of applications. You should expect to receive a decision from USCIS within 12 months from the time your Form I-130 application is received. 

Requirements to Sponsor Parents for Green Card

Besides proving the child-parent relationship, U.S. citizen sponsors must demonstrate that they have sufficient income or assets to support their parents without having to rely on public benefits. Furthermore, applicants must meet the admissibility requirements, and the parent must be able to pass a medical exam and provide proof of vaccinations.

Steps to File Parents Green Card

If your parent is physically present in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa (such as B-1/B-2 tourist visa), they can file I-130 and I-485 forms together (or “concurrently”). 

You will then need to wait for USCIS to approve the I-485 application. Parent can also apply for Employment Authorization (by filing Form I-765) and travel authorization or “Advance Parole” (by filing Form I-131). Depending on the individual’s case, a green card interview may be required. During the interview, you will need to answer questions related to the application. After the interview, you will receive the final decision on the green card application.

Overall, sponsoring a parent for a green card can be a long and complex process. It is important to be aware of all the requirements and to be prepared with the necessary documents and information. With the right preparation and understanding of the process, you can make the green card application process easier and help ensure a successful outcome.

Green Card for Parents Processing Time

The processing time for a green card for parents can be affected by the number of applications the USCIS is currently processing. If they are processing a large number of applications, it can take longer for your application to be processed. If a parent is in the U.S., it usually takes about 12-13 months to process the application. If a parent is abroad, it can take anywhere from 14 months to 20 months to get an immigrant visa.

Filing of Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for Your Parents

Besides the proof of child-parent relationship, the U.S. citizen petitioner must submit Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This document is a contract between the petitioner and the US government and is a binding commitment to provide financial support if necessary. In order to prove that they can provide financial support, the petitioner must demonstrate that they have sufficient assets or income to support their parents at 125% of the poverty level. To do this, the petitioner must provide evidence of their income (most recent federal tax return, W-2 and/or 1099 forms, current employment verification letter). If the petitioner doesn’t meet the minimum income requirements, assets can be used. Proof of assets could include documents such as bank statements, investment account statements, appraisal of real estate, and other financial documents. The Affidavit of Support must then be filed along with the other necessary documents when the parent files Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Apply for Adjustment of Status – If Your Parents are Currently In the U.S.

The process for applying for a green card for parents in the U.S. is known as an Adjustment of Status. It means that the parent can complete the whole process while staying physically in the U.S. without need to return to their home country. To proceed with the application, parents must fill out Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Form I-485 can be filed at the same time as Form I-130 is submitted to USCIS. Along with the application, parents must submit documentary evidence such as birth certificates, passports, marriage and divorce certificates, US passport-style photographs, U.S. visa, I-94 form, CBP stamp, secondary evidence of birth (if available). Parents must also pass a medical examination and a background check in order to be approved for a green card. Additionally, an interview with a USCIS officer may be required for some applicants. 

Consular Processing – If Your Parent is Located Outside of the U.S.

If your parents are located abroad, the process will be divided into two steps. As discussed above, the first step is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the form has been approved, the petitioner and beneficiary will need to submit documents to the National Visa Center (NVC). These documents include parent’s passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, police certificate and petitioner’s proof of current income.

After NVC approves the application, the next step is for the beneficiary to attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. During the interview, the consulate officer will ask questions about the petitioner’s relationship with the beneficiary. After the interview, the consulate officer will decide if the beneficiary is eligible for an immigrant visa.

The issued immigrant visa will be valid for 6 months. The visa will allow the beneficiary to enter the United States and become a permanent resident. After entering the United States, the beneficiary will receive the green card by mail. 

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