Green Card for Parents of US Citizens: A Family-Based Immigration Guide

Understanding the Parental Green Card Process

If you’re a U.S. citizen, you have the unique privilege to help your parents become green card holders or lawful permanent residents if they are foreign nationals.

However, the parental green card application process, like other immigration processes, is complex because of the several conditions that must be met and the documents required to prove eligibility. 

Our Green Card Lawyers at the JQK Immigration Law Firm are dedicated to providing clear guidance throughout the green card application process. We can help you understand the eligibility requirements set by the immigration authorities and prepare a solid application to help your parents achieve permanent resident status as quickly as possible. 

Read on to learn more about the parental green card process and our related immigration law services.  

Green Card Eligibility Criteria for Parents of U.S. Citizens

Parents of U.S. citizens, including biological or adoptive parents, qualify as their immediate relatives and are eligible for a green card if the parent and U.S. citizen child both meet certain requirements, including the following:

  • The child is over 21 years old.
  • The child can afford to support the immigrant parent financially. 
  • The parent meets the legal requirements for admissibility, which include passing a medical exam and proving there are no other grounds for inadmissibility, such as serious criminal records or previous immigration violations. 

Required Documentation

Certain supporting documents are required during the application process to prove the parent-child relationship and that you and your parent(s) meet all other eligibility requirements. They include:

  • An Affidavit of Support that confirms that you have the financial means to support your parent (s) so they do not have to rely on government assistance. 
  • Your birth certificate or adoption certificate
  • Evidence of your U.S. citizenship.

The documents required vary depending on whether you are applying for your mother or father. A Family Immigration Lawyer can explain the difference and help you identify the specific documents needed for a successful application in your circumstances.

A Summary of the Application Process

Most parental green card applications follow these steps: 

  1. Filing an Immigrant Petition With the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): You (the U.S. citizen child) need to initiate the green card process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of your parent(s).
  2. Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing: After the petition is approved, the applicant (your parent(s)can apply for a green card through the adjustment of status process if they are within the U.S. or follow the steps for consular processing if they are outside the U.S.
  3.  Interview: If required, your parent(s) must participate in an interview with the USCIS officials or at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. The officials at the interview will discuss their application details and examine the submitted documents to ensure your parent(s) qualify for a green card.
  4. Receive Decision: After a thorough review, the immigration authorities will issue a decision. If the application is approved, a green card will be issued subsequently. If your parents are outside the U.S. they would need to travel to the U.S. after approval and be admitted by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP ) officials before they’ll be issued a green card.

The above summary is an overly simplified version of the process created to aid your understanding. In reality, green card applications are not always straightforward. Because of the complexities involved, it is easy for applicants to make mistakes during the process that could lead to delays or jeopardize the outcome of the application. That’s why legal guidance is crucial at every stage of the process.

You can rely on our committed immigration lawyers at the JQK Immigration Law Firm to guide you and your loved ones through every step, from the application process to the final receipt of your parents’ green cards. 

Our commitment extends beyond the paperwork; for us, the process is about securing the emotional and financial bond of families, and that’s a task we undertake with the utmost respect and diligence.

Common Challenges During the Parental Green Card Process and How to Overcome Them

 Proving the Parent-Child Relationship

One of the most common challenges you may encounter while trying to help your parents obtain a green card is demonstrating the qualifying family relationship to the immigration authorities. This can only be done by providing valid documents that verify your connection to your parents.

 As stated earlier, the documents required vary depending on which of your parents you are applying for. For mothers, all that is needed to prove the relationship is the child’s birth certificate showing the mother’s name. The standard is higher for fathers.

If you are applying for your father, you would usually need additional documents, such as 

  • Your parents’ civil marriage certificate (if your parents were married)
  • Your birth certificate (showing the names of both parents)
  •  Evidence that an emotional or financial bond existed between you and your father
  • Evidence that you were legitimated before your 18th birthday (if you were born out of wedlock).

Many people are unaware of these differences in parental green card applications, leading to mistakes and incomplete documentation.

Problems could also arise when important documents such as birth certificates are missing. If you’re experiencing such challenges, we can provide clarity and go the extra mile to help you secure the necessary documents.

We once assisted a client whose original birth certificate was lost. By contacting various registries and obtaining affidavits from family members, we successfully substantiated their family ties, leading to the approval of their immigrant visa petition.

Financial Requirements and Potential Issues

You must also meet certain income requirements to sponsor your parents for a green card and file an Affidavit of Support as proof that your parents will not become public charges.

Your household income must be equal to or higher than 125% of the U.S. poverty level for your household size, including those you are sponsoring. Meeting this requirement entails properly calculating your assets and resources; any mistakes or omissions could mean you do not qualify. 

We can assess your case and help you determine your financial qualifications based on the federal poverty guidelines and our professional experience. If you still do not qualify, we can explore other possible solutions, including the possibility of joint sponsorship or utilizing your assets to meet the required income level.

Your future and that of your family is our priority. Therefore, you can rest assured, knowing that we’re here to help boost your chances of a smooth application process and help your parents achieve lawful permanent resident status in the U.S, no matter how difficult your case may seem. 

Begin Your Unique Immigration Journey With Help From the JQK Immigration Law Firm

The intricate requirements of the green card application process can make things difficult. When things get tough or if you are unsure how to begin, our seasoned immigration attorneys can guide you through the process, ensure the criteria for your parent’s green card applications are met, and meticulously prepare and review all documents to increase your chances of success.,

Our track record with family immigration law speaks for itself, and we take pride in our clients’ ability to achieve their American dreams under our guidance.

If you are ready to begin the green card process on your parents’ behalf, schedule a consultation with us to get answers to your burning questions and learn the next steps. Your path to reuniting with your loved ones is right before you, and we are here to help you move forward and reach your goal.

Contact Us

We are here to provide the support you need