The strain of being separated from your parents or other family members in the U.S. can be very difficult. The United States has a family-based green card process that allows U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents to petition for their parents and other immediate relatives to come and live in the United States. To file a green card for parents, however, you must be at least 21 years old. In order to obtain a green card for parents, you must first—as the sponsoring relative—file a Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, with the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS. If you, as the petitioning relative, are a U.S. citizen but currently live outside of the United States then you can file the visa petition at an embassy or U.S. consulate, or if you’ve been abroad for 6 months and the country you’re living in has given you permission to live there then you can file with USCIS overseas for the Petition for Alien Relative Form I-130. The current processing time for Form I-130 is a little over 2 months.
Table of Contents
- Requirements to Sponsor Parents Green Card 2020
- Steps to File Parents Green Card
- Green Card for Parents Processing Time
- Consult An Immigration Professional
Requirements to Sponsor Parents Green Card 2020
In order to sponsor a green card for parents, you must meet certain criteria:
- You must have proof of U.S. citizenship or Legal Permanent Residency
- You must be able to demonstrate a qualifying relationship. In other words, show that you are the child of your parents.
- You must file the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and then demonstrate that you can support them at 125% over the poverty line. To see the 2020 Poverty Guidelines from USCIS go to this page.
This is important to keep in mind because by petitioning for your parents’ green card, you assume financial responsibility for supporting them.
Steps to File Parents Green Card
After you have filed Form I-130 for each parent—one form for mother and one for father—you submit the petition filing fee of $535. This fee cannot be waived and it is non-refundable, even if USCIS takes action on the petition. You can pay for the fee by personal check, cashier’s check, and money order. For credit card payments, a separate Form G-1450 must be submitted in your application.You can see a breakdown of other fees associated with parents green card by clicking here.
Also note that according to USCIS, “The filing or approval of this petition does not give your relative any immigration status or benefit.” The total processing time for parent green card varies and can be anywhere from 6-12 months or more. In the past five years, USCIS processing time for parents green cards has significantly increased. This chart shows historical national average processing time in months for all USCIS offices. You can see the processing time for the I-130 was 6 months in 2016 and in 2020 it has increased to an average of 10.2 months. According to USCIS, “these processing times, which combine data from all USCIS offices, are based on the length of time that an office’s application/petition receipts have been awaiting adjudication (pending). FY2020 uses data from October 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020.”
Green Card for Parents Processing Time
Currently, the green card for parents processing time is slightly faster than others because parents are considered an immediate relative. You can always check the status of your case’s processing time here.
After the I-130 is approved, and all filing fees have been received you must submit the affidavit of support for each parent, and then the National Visa Center will forward them to the embassy in your parent’s home country. At that time they will need to file Form I-485 after USCIS has approved their I-130.
What if your parents are already in the United States? If that’s the case, your process would be to file an I-130 and Adjustment of Status (I-485) at the same time.
You will need to provide some documents when submitting the forms for your parents green card application including the Form I-485. Supporting documents include:
- Copy of a government-issued ID with a photograph
- Copy of parent’s birth certificates (if you don’t have access to these you can also provide evidence including medical, school records and an explanation of why you can’t obtain the birth certificates)
- Proof of your parents immigrant category like a receipt (I-797) for the Form I-130 filed with USCIS
- Proof of the inspection and admission from the U.S. Port of Entry
- 2 passport-style photos of them
Supplementary forms may be required but it’s best to consult an immigration professional to ensure all the necessary paperwork is included. Additional documents that may be necessary, depending on the circumstances of their case include:
- Form I-212
- Form I-485 (supplement A)
- Form I-508
- Form I-566
- Form I-601
- Form I-612
- Form I-693
- Form I-864
- Form I-864W
If the case is approved, your parent will be informed and will need to go to a green card interview at the closest U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
Along with the interview, your parents need to pass a medical exam. If approved they will be granted a green card (mailed to U.S. address) and once they arrive to the United States they will receive a stamp in their passport at the port of entry showing they’ve been allowed to enter as lawful permanent residents. They’ll also have to pass an inspection with a Customs and Border Protection agent who will go through their paperwork. As you can see the green card for parents timeline has changed pretty significantly in 2020 and processing times have gone up and likely will continue to go up in the time ahead.