sponsor parents for a green card

How To Sponsor Parents For A Green Card As A US Citizen

Newly minted as a U.S. citizen and curious what it will take to bring your parents to the U.S. as permanent residents? Well, you’re in luck because this is what today’s post is all about! Many immigrants want to sponsor parents for a green card as soon as they are eligible. But, there are a few requirements that must be met before you embark on this journey.

U.S. citizen is a big deal. Not only will it allow you to vote and obtain a U.S. passport but it also puts your immediate relatives at the front of immigration waiting lists. This means that mom and dad won’t need to wait for a visa to become available before they are scheduled for an interview. Awesome, right?

For all that your parents have done for you, it’s time to give back by sponsoring them to live in the United States with you. Of course, this will also depend on if your WANT to live in the U.S. in the first place.

Case Example:

Amira is from Lebanon and she has recently naturalized to become a U.S. citizen. She now wants to bring her parents to the U.S. as permanent residents. She gathers documents to prove their immediate family ties as well as her financial support documents.

She completes the numerous forms for both of her parents and submits it to USCIS for processing. After 2 weeks, she receives the first notice of action stating that the I-130 petition has been accepted by USCIS.

In the case above, Amira’s parents will not need to wait for their priority date to become current. As long as they are eligible for the family-based visa and green card they will be scheduled for an interview right away.

How To Sponsor Green Card for Parents

Petitioning your parents for a green card is no easy task. It will take a lot of time and money but it’s definitely worth it to reunite with your loved ones inside the United States. With Trump now trying to limit family-based immigration, it’s best to petition for your parents as soon as you are eligible to do so.

Step 1: Do you qualify for sponsor parents for green card?

First thing you need to determine is if you can sponsor your parents for a green card. You must have proof of U.S. citizenship because permanent resident can’t petition for their parents until they naturalize.

The following documents can be used a proof of U.S. citizenship by the sponsor:

  • Naturalization certificate
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. birth certificate

Step 2: Complete form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

After confirming that you are eligible to petition your parents for a green card, it’s time to fill out the long paperwork. The first one to complete is form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form is used for any relative that you want to bring the United States on a family-based visa.

It covers basic information such as your name, address, immigration background and details about your parents.

Learn how to fill out the I-130 correctly with this step-by-step tutorial.

Step 3: Complete form G-325A, Biographic Information

The next form to fill out is the G-325A which asks for biographical information on both of your parents. This will be used to conduct background checks and to cross reference other information obtained by USCIS.

Be sure all the answers on this form are accurate. If you do make a mistake, contact USCIS immediately to make the correction. Sometimes you will receive a request for evidence from USCIS if they spot the mistake first and you can respond to it by providing the correct information.

Step 4: Complete form I-864, Affidavit of Support

The affidavit of support is a document that provides USCIS information about your financial background. You will need to meet certain income requirements before you can sponsor your parents for a green card.

Currently, the income requirements for the I-864 affidavit of support are as follows:

Household Size 100% Poverty Guideline 125% Poverty Guideline
2 $16,240 $20,300
3 $20,420 $25,525
4 $24,600 $30,750
5 $28,780 $35,975
6 $32,960 $41,200
7 $37,140 $46,425
8 $41,320 $51,650

**To sponsor your parents for green card you will need to make 125% of the poverty guidelines.

Step 5: Parents complete medical exam (form I-693)

Lastly, your parents will need to both complete a medical exam by a USCIS approved physician in their country of residence. This exam will look for communicable diseases that can cause your parents to become inadmissible to enter the United States.

They will need to bring their vaccination records and other health records that are important. Most disease conditions such as heart disease or diabetes will not affect their chances of getting a family-based visa but something like syphilis certainly will if it’s still active.

green card for parents

Are Your Parents Inadmissible To Enter The US?

Okay, so we talked a little about inadmissibility when it came to communicable diseases. But there are a few other things that can cause your parents not to be allowed to enter the United States.

Public Charge

The public charge ground of inadmissibility simply means that USCIS believes there is a high likelihood of your parents needing government welfare when they enter the U.S. To overcome this, you would need to show that you can financially support them based on your income and household size.

Bar To Entry

Having an active bar against you will mean that you will need to wait until this time has passed before you will be eligible for a visa or green card. This includes a 5, 10, and 20 year bar. A permanent bar is a much more complicated situation and it’s recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney before filing any waivers.

Criminal Record

Depending on what the conviction was, your parents may be inadmissible if they have committed serious crimes such as murder or child molestation. Petty crimes or misdemeanors don’t affect their chances of being approved.

The important thing here is that they are honest about their criminal background since USCIS will do a thorough background check. Anything that comes up during this search will need to be investigated which will cause a delay in processing of the visa or green card.

Parents Are Already Inside The U.S., Can They Adjust Status?

If your parents are already inside the United States it may be possible for them to get a green card without having to leave the U.S. for the interview. The important thing is how they entered the U.S. in the first place.

Parents entered U.S. on a valid visa.

To adjust status inside the United States with form I-485, your parents would need to prove that they entered the country legally. This means they must have a valid unexpired visa stamped in their passport.

Adjusting status is probably the quickest way to get a green card inside the United States. The process will be a little different than if they were living abroad. Follow this step-by-step tutorial on filing form I-485 adjustment of status.

Parents entered U.S. without inspection (illegally)

If you parents entered the country illegally (without inspection by CBP), it will be almost impossible to adjust status inside the U.S. They will need to submit a hardship waiver that asks USCIS to forgive this unlawful entrance because it would cause extreme hardship to you as their child/sponsor.

The waiver is no guarantee that they will be approved. It is just asking for permission and providing evidence of their good character and the reasons they should be forgiven for the unlawful presence time accrued.

How Long Does It Take To Sponsor Parents For A Green Card?

Petitioning for an immediate relative such as a parent will be much quicker since you are a U.S. citizen. I say that being a little sarcastic because anything to do with U.S. immigration is not quick by any means.

It can take as little as 6 months to as long as 12 months. This will depend on the service center you filed with because some are more busy with cases than others. The important thing is that you submit all the documents that are required and avoid getting an request for evidence which can delay the green card by up to 90 days.

Can A Permanent Resident Sponsor Parents For A Green Card?

Unfortunately, lawful permanent residents can’t petition their parents for a green card. Only U.S. citizens get this privilege but you can definitely do so once you naturalize.

If you are a green card holder, you are only allowed to sponsor a spouse or child. You must wait at least 3 years (if married to a U.S. citizen) or 5 years before you are eligible to apply for naturalization by filing form N-400.

Final Thoughts: Sponsor Parents For A Green Card

Helping your parents get a green card is a top priority for many immigrants who naturalize to become U.S. citizens. You’ve waited this long to be able to bring your parents to the U.S. and by following the steps outlined above, they should be approved in less than a year.

As the petitioner, you must meet the income requirement for your household size plus your parents. If you don’t, you can find a U.S. joint sponsor who does meet this income requirement.

Finally, your parents must not be found inadmissible due to public charge, communicable disease, immigration violations or criminal record. If they are found inadmissible there is a chance they can qualify for a waiver. I won’t go into the waiver process in this post but as long as their violations aren’t serious, there are workarounds.

That’s it! Now if you need one-on-one help to be sure you are submitting the forms correctly I recommend signing up for premium case support. This will allow me to help you individually with your specific petition and answer any questions you may have.

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Hi! I’m a foreign born Canadian that has immigrated to the United States to marry the love of my life. I successfully navigated the U.S. immigration system all the way to U.S. citizenship. It wasn’t easy but I can help you do the same. Looking to move to the United States? Let’s submit the best application possible. Whether you’re applying for a visa, green card or naturalization; get real answers to your immigration questions.

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