Immigration for Parents of US Citizens

An individual who is a US citizen has the right to petition for US permanent resident status (“green card”) for his or her parents. A typical situation is when a foreign citizen marries a US citizen, immigrates to the United States, and later becomes a US citizen. After becoming a US citizen, she may wish for her parents to join her through family sponsored immigration. It is not important how one became a US citizen; for example, if a child is born in the United States, he automatically becomes a US citizen so upon attaining the age of 21, he may petition for his parents to become permanent residents.

What are the requirements?

Besides being at least 21 years of age, the US citizen must also provide evidence of a) having the financial means to support her parent at 125% above the mandated poverty line; b) her status as a US citizen, and c) her relationship to the parent. Stepparents are considered “parents” and eligible if the marriage was concluded before the petitioner turned 18. The parent must not have any admissibility problems.

What is the process?

Because parents are considered immediate relatives, there is no numerical limit on how many can immigrate to the United States in a given year. Immediate relative sponsorship by a US citizen is a much less lengthy process than other family immigration categories. As soon as USCIS reviews and approves the petition for a green card, the case is forwarded to the National Visa Center and later to the US Embassy for processing. If the parent is in the US at the time of filing of the petition, the parent can file an I-485 application to adjust status.

What are some of the problems encountered during the family immigration process?

Some of the problems we have seen in the family immigration process include:

  • Stepfather cases;
  • Financial questions or tax compliance of the US citizen;
  • Validity of the naturalization process of the US citizen;
  • Divorce validity;
  • The US citizen must be domiciled in the United States;
  • Misrepresentation. For example, when previously applying for a tourist visa, a parent did not indicate in the application form that her daughter was in the United States in hopes of increasing her chances of receiving a visa. Or a parent may seek to enter the United States with a valid visitor visa, and immediately apply to adjust status to permanent resident. Having this preconceived intention to adjust status may lead to difficulties in attaining a green card.

How does White & Associates help?

While the process is not complex, many preliminarily consult with White & Associates in order to fully understand the requirements, benefits, risks, obligations and admissibility issues. To economize time and ensure that the process will go as smoothly possible, White & Associates can assist you in preparing the necessary forms and supporting documentation. White & Associates has dealt with many complicated visa cases and can assist you in avoiding or overcoming difficulties so that your family can be together as soon as possible.