Green Cards, or permanent resident cards, are government identification documents issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A Green Card allows the holder to work and live in the United States (U.S.). If you are interested in applying for a U.S. Green Card for your parent(s), you must be a U.S. citizen 21 years or older. Generally, it takes 12 months to process a Green Card application, but closures and restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in longer than usual processing times.
Confirm Parent Eligibility and Admissibility
If you would like to apply for a parent to immigrate to the U.S., you must prove their eligibility and admissibility as a candidate. They must be your legal parent to be eligible. The term “legal parent” refers to:
- birth parent
- adoptive parent
The U.S. government considers parents inadmissible if there is a probability they will become a burden to the State or require government assistance. As their sponsor, you will need to prove that you have sufficient income or assets (at least 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines) to support your household with the inclusion of your parent(s). Other factors that would deem a parent inadmissible include:
- a criminal record
- a violation of immigration laws
- a disease that could pose a public health risk
- a mental or physical condition that may be dangerous
Check the Green Card Application Process
For each parent, you must complete a Petition for Alien Relative Form (Form I-130) to begin the application process. This form is used to establish the parent-child relationship and that you are a U.S. citizen. It must be submitted to the USCIS along with the required filing fees.
You will need to submit copies of the following documents, if applicable (do not send original documents, as they will not be returned to you):
- U.S. passport
- Naturalization certificate
- Parents’ marriage certificate
- Proof of citizenship
- Birth certificate with your parent’s name
Other documents may need to be presented to prove the parent-child relationship, such as:
- Adoption certificate
- Financial records
- Divorce decree
- Death certificate
If your petition is approved, the USCIS will send the file to a U.S. Consulate in your parent’s home country. The consulate will contact your parent(s) and advise them of the forms and documentation required to continue the process. Simultaneously, you will need to complete an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate that you can support your parent(s) once they receive a Green Card. Your next steps will depend on whether your parent is in the U.S. or another country.
Consular Processing for Parents Outside of the U.S.
If your parent is in another country, their petition (Form I-130) will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) once it is approved. The NVC will then contact your parent(s), after which the Online Choice of Address and agent form (Form DS-261) will need to be filed on the U.S. State Department’s website. Following the completion of the DS-261 application, a total of US$445 must be paid to the State Department: US$325 for application processing and US$120 for the financial support form. You must then file the immigrant visa application (Form DS-260) on the U.S. State Department’s website. This is the primary Green Card application for parents living outside of the U.S.
Adjustment of Status for Parents Legally in the U.S.
If your parents are legally in the U.S., they can apply for an adjustment of status. The Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) can be submitted either concurrently with Form I-130 or after approval of Form I-130.
Filing both Form I-130 and Form I-485, as well as paying the filing fee of US$1,140 and the biometrics fee of US$85, reduces the processing time. Your parent(s) will need to submit the following:
- Birth certificate
- Government-issued identification
- Two passport pictures
Be aware that bringing your parent(s) to the U.S. only for an Adjust Status application is considered fraudulent misuse of a tourist visa. Attempting this can lead to their Green Card application(s) being denied, and they may also become inadmissible.
Confirm Medical Eligibility
Medical examinations are mandatory for all applicants, whether they are in the U.S. or outside the country. They must choose a designated physician (or “civil surgeon”) from the list provided by the USCIS or U.S. Consulate. The Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (Form I-693) is to be printed and taken to the medical exam appointment, to be completed by the doctor. Once the medical examination is complete, the doctor will issue a sealed envelope with the results of the examination. It is important not to open or alter this envelope; it must remain sealed. For applicants in the U.S., Form I-693 can be submitted at the same time as Form I-485, or it can be taken to the interview for the Green Card (when applicable). For applicants outside the U.S., they should follow instructions provided by the NVC and the consulate processing their application.
Let Our U.S. Immigration Lawyer in Montreal be Your Guide
At Silver Immigration, our U.S. immigration lawyers stay abreast with USCIS updates to ensure the legal compliance of each Green Card application. We recognize the importance of being close to family members. Let us guide you through the process of applying for a U.S. Green Card for your parents.