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 to petition for their parents/other immediate relatives and U.S. permanent residents to sponsor spouses, minor children, and unmarried children over the age of 21. Green card holders (permanent residents) cannot petition to bring their parents to the U.S. If you are looking to bring your parents to the U.S., then we can help you make the process easy and fast. Start your family’s green card journey now!

Reunite with Your Family Sooner


What is a Green Card for Parents?

Obtaining a green card for your parents comes with a host of benefits for them including the ability to live permanently in the United States (with no expiration date), the ability to seek employment with work authorization, access to social benefits, travel flexibility and more.

To file a green card for parents (mother/father), however, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old.

Requirements to Sponsor Parents Green Card

In order to sponsor a green card for parents, you must meet certain criteria:

  • You must have proof of U.S. citizenship
  • 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. It is important to familiarize yourself with the Poverty Guidelines from USCIS.

This is important to keep in mind because by petitioning for your parents’ green card, you assume financial responsibility for supporting them.

parent green card requirements infographic that shows list of required documents based on the immigration situation

How to Apply to Sponsor Parents for A Green Card

File Form I-130

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.

If you are looking to bring your parents to the U.S., then we can help you make the process easy and fast. Start your family’s green card journey now!

Submit the Petition Filing Fee

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. It is crucial to learn about the fees associated with filing parent green card. Also note that according to USCIS, “The filing or approval of this petition does not give your relative any immigration status or benefit.”  Comparatively speaking, the process for siblings of U.S. citizens to get green cards is 14-16 years (depending on the home country). There are lengthy waits for those from India, Mexico, and the Philippines.

File Form I-485 After I-130 Approval

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.

**There are no green card annual limits for spouses, parents and minor children.

Simple and Fast Parent Green Cards


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Benefits of Parent Green Card

The benefits granted to parents once they receive their green cards are:

1) Permanent residency and unlimited stay in the U.S.;

2) Work authorization;

3) Access to social services and benefits;

4) Travel flexibility;

5) Pathway to citizenship (naturalization);

6) Educational opportunities; and

7) Easier access to inheritance and property ownership.

Green Card for Parents Processing Time

Currently, the processing time for green cards for parents is slightly faster than that of others because parents are considered immediate relatives. You can always check the status of your case’s processing time for your specific situation.

The I-130 processing time for an immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen—such as a spouse, unmarried child under 21, or parent residing abroad— is 13.5 to 15 months. For those within the U.S., the processing duration currently ranges from 13.5 to 20.5 months. Other factors depend on which service center or field office is processing the application.

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 an 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

Get Green Cards for Your Parents


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:

There are numerous forms and documents to submit when sponsoring a green card for your parents. Mistakes can be very costly as they add additional wait time. Need experienced help? For no extra fees, your VisaNation Select application is reviewed by an immigration attorney and checked for accuracy. Start your application today!

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions:

Can a green card holder sponsor parents?

Yes, a green card holder can sponsor their parents for a green card. See the requirements in the chart above.

What family members can a green card holder sponsor?

A green card holder can sponsor their spouse and unmarried children under 21 for a green card.

Can green card holder parents sponsor their child over 21?

Green card holder parents can sponsor their unmarried child over 21 for a green card, but the process can take a long time.

Can my parents stay in the US while waiting for a green card?

Generally, parents cannot stay in the U.S. while waiting for a green card unless they have a separate visa that allows them to stay legally.

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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 and processing times have gone up and likely will continue to go up in the time ahead.

Check out this Ultimate Parent Green Card Guide! 

Consult An Immigration Professional

Get Started

The best chance you have at obtaining a green card for your parents is to enlist an experienced immigration professional for your case. VisaNation Law Group's team has helped thousands of families reunite in the United States and we're confident we can find an appropriate path to citizenship for almost anyone. Again, the green card for parents timeline will typically differ from case to case but you can expect to wait at least ten months.