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How to Immigrate a Parent to the USA

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we discuss an important topic relating to family-based immigration: how can I immigrate my parent to the United States?

How do you immigrate a parent to the United States?

You must be a United States citizen (over 21 years of age) to immigrate your parent to the United States. The process of immigrating your parent to the United States depends on where your parent is residing at the time of filing.

Adjustment of Status

The most common scenario is where your parent has entered the United States on a non-immigrant visa for a non-immigrant purpose (such as visiting the United States) and several months later a decision is made to adjust the parent’s status to permanent residence. In this scenario, the appropriate process to immigrate the parent to the United States is through a process known as adjustment of status to permanent residence.

During this process, the United States citizen child will file a petition with USCIS called Form I-130 to immigrate their parent to the United States as well as Form I-864 Affidavit of Support. The United States citizen child must sign Form I-864 Affidavit of Support to prove they have the financial ability to provide for their parent until the parent becomes a US citizen. If the United States citizen child cannot prove financial ability, a joint sponsor will be needed who can prove their financial ability. At the same time, the parent will file Form I-485 with USCIS to change their status to that of permanent residence. In addition, the parent may choose to apply for employment authorization and a travel permit by filing Forms I-765 and I-131, in order to work and travel internationally while the green card application is in process.

Once these petitions are filed with USCIS, the parent can wait in the United States until the green card process is completed. The process is considered complete once the parent is approved following the green card interview.

Important Note: Once the green card application is filed, your parent cannot depart the United States until they receive their travel permit in the mail. It can take anywhere from 4-6 months for the travel permit to be received by mail. If your parent departs the United States without travel permission, the green card application will be considered abandoned and cancelled.

Will my parent receive a 10-year green card?

Yes, typically parents sponsored by their U.S. Citizen children will receive the 10-year green card. Prior to the expiration of the 10-year period, your parent will need to renew their 10-year green card by filing Form I-90.

What if my parent is outside the United States?

Consular Processing

If your parent is residing outside of the United States, the process to immigrate the parent to the United States is called “consular processing.” This process differs from the adjustment of status process in some important ways.

Firstly, your parent will need to complete the entire immigration process from outside of the United States. Secondly, consular processing takes much more time than adjustment of status process.

The process to immigrate a parent residing abroad to the United States, begins when the United States citizen child files Form I-130 with USCIS. Once this petition is approved, the petition is transferred to the National Visa Center. Once this petition has been received by the National Visa Center, the agency will contact the US Citizen child and parent to collect additional documents from both parties. At this time, the US Citizen child will need to sign and provide Form I-864 Affidavit of Support proving financial ability, as well as other supporting documentation. Once all necessary documentation has been provided to the National Visa Center, the agency will send the application package to the U.S. embassy in the parent’s home country where the parent will be called for an interview. Once approved following the interview, your parent will receive an immigrant visa that is good for 6 months, along with a sealed package that they must present at the port of entry. Once your parent presents the sealed package at the port of entry, their green card is mailed within 2-3 weeks of entry.

To reiterate, the process of immigrating a parent to the United States differs depending on where your parent is residing. The process may also depend on your parent’s situation. For example, if your parent must depart the United States frequently, the adjustment of status process may not be the best option for your parent, even if they are in the United States on a valid non-immigrant visa status.

To discuss which process is right for your parent please contact our office.

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