Family-based Green Card—Parent
Permanent resident cards (Green Cards) allow immigrants to live in the U.S. permanently. Parents of U.S. citizens can receive Green Cards relatively quickly. USCIS accepts Green Card applications from foreign parents of U.S. citizens who are at least 21 years of age. (A foreign parent may not apply for a Green Card based on their child holding a Green Card.) A parent's journey to permanent residence in the U.S. begins when their child files a petition for them (Form I-130, Sponsor Family for a Green Card) with the USCIS.
What are the requirements for helping parents immigrate?
You can petition for adoptive parents and stepparents as well as natural parents. USCIS requires submission of different document types to show each relationship. USCIS document requirements are based on whether your natural parent applying to immigrate is your mother or your father and whether your immigrating father was married to your mother when you were born. If they were not married at the time of your birth, you may need to show that your father legally recognized your relationship or demonstrated emotional or financial responsibility of you prior to your 18th birthday.
What if my parent is already in the U.S.?
If your parent already has temporary permission to be in the U.S., then they can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status along with your Form I-130. Form I-485 is sometimes known as the Green Card application. This is called "concurrent filing", and parents and their citizen children can do it because after approving a petition, USCIS sends it to the U.S. Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) for assignment of a visa number, and visas are always available for parents of U.S. citizens.
Parents who are lawfully inside the U.S. at the time of filing may apply for permission to work and travel while the Green Card application is pending.
What if my parent lives outside of the U.S.?
Parents who do not live in the U.S. when the NVC assigns their visa number will recieve the immigration petition and visa number through their local U.S. consulate. They will then follow consular processing through that local U.S. consulate or embassy.
Parents arriving to the U.S. from overseas may use their passport stamp as proof of the right to work until they receive their Green Card.
How long does it take for the petition to be approved?
The immigration petition, or Form I-130, may take six or more months to be processed by the USCIS. However, this is only the first stage of immigration and a citizen's parent may have to wait for a visa number to become available.