The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has always supported the process of family-based immigrant visas. Furthermore, as for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens, there are no fixed limits, including applications for green cards for parents, spouses, and dependent children.

With a green card for parents and immediate family members of U.S. citizens, they can live and work in the U.S. freely. Further, these family members can pave their path to U.S. citizenship by applying for naturalization.

Green Card For Parents

In order to petition for one’s parents to arrive in the U.S. as green card holders, the petitioners have to meet the minimum eligibility requirements for green card sponsorship.

Foreign nationals can become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) of the U.S. by obtaining a Green Card. The green card also makes it possible for non-citizens to live in the U.S. legally.

Additionally, these nationals have the freedom to reside and work anywhere in the nation. Further, after three to five years, those with green cards can file for naturalization and eventually become citizens of the United States.

Family-based green card types

The family-based green cards can be broadly categorized into two major categories:

  • Immediate Relatives
  • Family Preference Categories

The immediate relatives can enjoy an earlier processing time and receive a green card much earlier than the family preference categories.

Green Card For Parents Requirements

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the petitioner must comply with the following requirements:

  1. The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen
  2. The petitioner must be at least 21 years old.

Furthermore, it is also mandatory to know that green card holders cannot sponsor their parents to become permanent residents of the U.S. Furthermore if the applicant satisfies all the requirements, they become eligible to petition for a green card for parents.

In addition, the correct supporting documents and evidence must be provided while applying for a green card. The documents include a marriage certificate, birth certificate, and documents that establish a relation between applicants.

Who can sponsor parents for a family green card?

The following requirements must be met before applying for a family-based green card for parents:

  1. The green card petitioner must be a U.S. citizen.
  2. They must be financially capable of bearing the expenses of immediate relatives whom they are inviting.
  3. Must demonstrate a qualifying relationship between the applicants and petitioners themselves.
  4. They must maintain their residence in the U.S.

Furthermore, supporting documents and evidence must be provided while applying for a green card.

Family of Green Card Holders

The green card holders (permanent residents) can petition for certain family members (immediate relatives) to immigrate to the U.S. as permanent residents.

The petition can be made for the following family members:

  • Spouse (husband or wife)
  • Unmarried children (under 21)
  • Unmarried son or daughter (any age)

The process begins with filing a petition I-130 for parents.

Immediate Family Members

The immediate relative’s green card has the lowest processing time since the USCIS gives it a higher preference over other family-based green card types.

As an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, the applicants can become a lawful permanent resident based on their family relationship by meeting specific eligibility requirements.

The following are considered immediate relatives of U.S. citizens:

  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens (under 21 years of age)
  • Parents of a U.S. citizen

The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens can enjoy a faster application process.

Green Cards for Parents Living Abroad

If the petitioner’s parents live abroad, their immediate relative can also submit the petition. This process usually takes 12-18 months. Under this condition, the following procedures must be followed by applicants:

  • Applying form I-130 for parents.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship.
  • Evidence demonstrating that you are at least 21 years old.

Supporting documents demonstrating your relationship with your parents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.)

These petitions are reviewed by the USCIS and sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The NVC then speaks with parents to discuss additional requirements for their immigration visa interviews. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate hosts these interviews in the parent’s home country.

The petitioner must provide an affidavit of support for each parent must be delivered once all required documentation has been filed, and filing costs have been paid.

The NVC will subsequently forward these records to the relevant Embassy or Consulate, where your parents will be questioned. If accepted, your parents will have six months to travel to the United States.

Sponsoring a relative as a Green Card Holder

In addition, green cards are also available for sponsoring relatives other than immediate family members. In order to get a green card, one can ask their relatives living in the U.S. to file a petition for them.

However, a limited number of Immigrant visas are available to family preference categories, so the processing time might be much longer than obtaining a green card based on the immediate family member relationship.

Sponsoring a relative as a United States Citizen

The parents can sponsor their family members for green cards if they have special priorities and don’t wait until their visa number is available.

If a person sponsoring an immigrant visa is not allowed in the United States, obtaining a passport may require extra time. The relatives of people with green cards can be sponsored to apply for permanent residency in the U.S. An application for a green card must be submitted to consular processing if the relatives live abroad.

How much does it cost to get a green card for parents?

All applications are processed by submitting the application fees first. A sponsorship petition for I130 costs around $535.

Filing Form I-130 with the USCIS for parents of U.S. citizens

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents file Form 1-130 to petition for a spouse, unmarried children, or parents. Furthermore, when specifically filing the petition for an alien relative for parents, the appeal becomes a family-based petition.

The petition I-130 allows U.S. nationals to invite their parents to the U.S.; however, not all the cases are accepted by the USCIS. Still, there are many cases that USCIS rejects. The I-130 is the initial step when beginning the process of family immigration. Furthermore, a successful petition can help the petitioner and their family to obtain immigration benefits.

Supporting documents for a green card for parents

The following documents may be needed to support your petition for a green card for parents:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Financial Documents
  • Medical examination documents (If required)
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship
  • Proof of legal admission
  • Proof of legal status United States (If required)
  • Police Clearance Certificate (If required)
  • Documents of previous marriage (Incase of divorce)
  • Previous Criminal Records (If required)
  • Military records (If required)
  • Records of immigration offenses(If needed)

Family categories that a U.S. citizen can sponsor

Below is the list where an I-130 visa petitioner can apply for immigration and help with immigration.

The other family members eligible to apply for a Green Card under the preference immigrant categories are:

  • First Preference (F1)

Under this category, U.S. citizens of unmarried children (21 years of age or above) can file a petition for a green card.

  • Second Preference (F2A)

Spouses and children (unmarried and 21 years of age or above) of lawful permanent residents are encouraged to file a petition.

  • Second Preference (F2B)

Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or above) of lawful permanent residents can apply.

  • Third Preference (F3)

U.S. citizens’ married children (sons and daughters) can apply for this petition.

  • Fourth Preference (F4)

Brothers and Siblings of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is of 21 years or above) are also allowed to file the petition.


How long does it take for a green card holder to sponsor parents?

It may take up to six months to be approved by the court when a family member files a petition and a few years for family preference groups. The numbers above are approximations. It can have been longer or shorter depending on the person.

Can a Green Card Holder Sponsor Their Parents?

The green card holders cannot sponsor their parents to the U.S. and can invite their parents once they become U.S. citizens by naturalization.

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