Getting a Green Card for parents is one of the categories under family-based Green Cards. The USCIS prioritizes parents and they can obtain a Green Card quickly compared to other family members. In this article, you can learn everything you need to know about sponsoring a parent so they can join you in the United States.
Who is eligible to sponsor Green Cards for parents?
U.S. citizens who are 21 years old or older can sponsor Green Cards for their parents. Permanent residents cannot sponsor Green Cards for parents.
Green Cards for parents timeline
There are 6 main steps in the timeline to getting Green Cards for parents; Applying to sponsor your parents, waiting for the petition to be approved, applying for a Green Card, going to the biometrics appointment, going to an interview, and lastly, receiving a Green Card.
Apply to sponsor your parents
The first step to getting a Green Card for parents is to file a petition.
The first form that must be filed is Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. A separate application should be filed for each parent.
Along with your completed I-130 form, the sponsor will need to submit
- proof a U.S. citizenship (birth certificate, U.S. passport, Green Card, certificate of naturalization)
- proof of family relationship (birth certificate to prove they are the child of the parent)
- passport-sized photos of both the sponsor and the parent that have been taken recently
- Filing fee
The second form that must be filed is form G-325A, Biographic Information. This form will give the USCIS important information about the applicant’s life and must be filed by both the sponsor and parent.
The third form that must be filed is form I-864, Affidavit of Support. This form is necessary because it states that the sponsor takes the responsibility of financially supporting their immigrating parent.
Wait till petition is approved
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Parents must be approved to carry onto the next steps.
The USCIS may ask for additional documents and evidence to be sent in. There is no fee for sending in additional evidence.
If the USCIS denies the I-130 form, they will state why it was denied and the problem can oftentimes be fixed and the form can be filed again. The filing fee will need to be sent again.
Apply for Green Card
Once the USCIS approves the I-130 petition, the next step is determined by whether the parent is in the United States or abroad.
If Inside the U.S.
If the parent is inside of the United States, the parent should file form I-485, Application of Adjustment of Status. Adjustment of status allows a person to apply for lawful permanent residence (Green Card) from within the U.S. without having to return to their home county. This form can be filed at the same time as form I-130, Petition for Alien Parents if the parent is in the U.S. and they meet certain eligibility requirements through concurrent filing.
With form I-485, the following documents and evidence should be submitted
- If any, criminal history documents
- Birth certificate of parent
- Copy of parent’s passport
- The approval notice for Form I-130
- 2 copies of passport pictures
- A sealed medical examination report on Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- Completed Form G-325A
- Completed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support
- Filing fee
If Outside the U.S.
If the parent is outside of the United States, they will have to go through consular processing and will have to wait until their form I-130 is approved before starting the Green Card application process. Consular processing is when one applies for permanent residence (Green Card) from their home country and the application is handled by their local U.S. embassy or consulate.
Go to Biometric Services Appointment
When the USCIS approves the application, they will send the parent immigrant a form I-797C, Notice of Action in the mail. This form explains when and where their biometric service appointment will be and any other related information. This appointment will be where their fingerprints, photos, and signature will be taken.
Go to Green Card Interview
The point of the Green Card interview is to make sure that the parent and sponsor are eligible as an applicant and petitioner and that all the documents and information are valid. The interviewer will often ask questions about official and supporting documents, so be sure to study all the information.
If inside the United States., the interview will be organized by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). If abroad, the interview will be organized by the National Visa Center (NVC) and will take place at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Prior to the interview, an appointment for the interview must be made months in advance. The parent will need to bring all the identifying documents to the interview.
Receive Green Card
Once everything is approved, the parent will be issued a Green Card in the weeks following their interview. The USCIS will send the Green Card to their address in the mail.
If outside the U.S. and everything is approved, the officer will stamp the parent’s passport to show approval for a Green Card and will hand them a sealed immigration packet which allows them to travel to the United States.. It is extremely important that this packet is not opened.
How much will it cost to get Green Cards for parents?
In total, the cost to get a Green Card for a parent is approximately $1,945.
The filing fee for form I-130 is $420
The filing fee for form I-485 is $1,140
The medical exam will vary depending on the service but the doctor can charge $300+
Biometrics fee of $85
How long will it take to get Green Cards for parents?
It takes between 6 months and 15 months to get a Green Card for Parents after form I-130 is approved. Form I-130 can take between 5-26.5 months to be approved, depending on the service center.