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Thinking of Applying for a Green Card for your Parents or Other Immediate relatives – Now is a Great Time!

with 50 comments

Have you been thinking of applying for a green card for your parents or other immediate relatives who are living abroad and that you would like to bring to the U.S.? If so, now is a great time to consider filing a petition for your immediate relatives, as projected times to complete processing are at an all time low. This article discusses the basics of benefits, eligibility criteria, and process of applying for a green card for an immediate relative, but it cannot be considered legal advice or replace the value of an individual consult with an immigration attorney who is able conduct a complete analysis based on  individual circumstances.

Immediate Relatives:

Immediate relatives are the most favored category of family members and are not subject to numerical limits, which in essence means that they are immediately eligible to apply for a visa. This also means that immediate relatives are not subject to the visa allocation system as other family based green card preference categories. Immediate relatives include:

  • Parents of U.S. Citizens who are over 21 years old,
  • Unmarried children (under 21 years old) of U.S. Citizens, and
  • Spouses of U.S. Citizens.

Benefits:

Benefits of a legal permanent resident or a green card are several:

  • Ability to enter the United States without requiring a visa ;
  • Ability to take up gainful employment upon arriving into the United States without requiring a sponsor or a pre-arrange an approved job offer.
  • Ability to apply for a U.S. Citizenship eventually

Eligibility Criteria:

In order to be able sponsor an immediate relative you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and provide documentation such as a naturalization certificate and/or a U.S. passport to show your status
  • Meet an income threshold and support the relative you are sponsoring at 125% above the mandated poverty line.

Process :

  1. It must be shown that the immediate relative being sponsored is eligible for immigration and that a qualifying family relationship exists and that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident. It must also be shown that the immediate relative is admissible to the United States and not deportable.
  2. In most family sponsored immigrant visa cases, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident must file an immigrant visa petition on Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative);
  3. Concurrent filing of the immigrant visa petition and the application for permanent residence is allowed in certain family sponsored cases, and this is called filing for an adjustment of status application, filed on Form I-485. The biggest advantage of adjusting status is the ability of the immediate relative to get the permanent status i.e. green card without having to leave the United States. To take advantage of the adjustment of status process, the immediate relative of the U.S. citizen must not only be in the U.S. but must also have proof of  lawful entry in to the United States. However, the U.S. citizen sponsor must be aware of the legal concept of non-immigrant intent and that when an immediate relative entered into the United States with a visitor’s visa s/he demonstrated an intent to return to her/his home country and that applying for a lawful permanent resident status could be perceived to be contrary to the intent represented and therefore could be considered a violation of her or his visa terms. Therefore, in situations where an adjustment of status is sought, it is advisable to consult an immigration attorney.

As mentioned earlier, the turnaround time for a green card for an immediate relative along with concurrent filing for an adjustment of status is relatively fast at present and is taking approximately 5 months at the time of writing this article. So, if you have been thinking about applying for a green card for any of your immediate relatives – now is a great time to take advantage!

Reproduced from Lokvani where the article written by our attorney , Hanishi T. Ali, was orignally published: http://www.lokvani.com/lokvani/article.php?article_id=5938


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Written by MithrasLaw

September 7, 2009 at 2:44 am

50 Responses

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  1. Hi,

    I was doing some research and found your blog. I’m trying to find out whether U.S. Citizens may sponsor parents or siblings who have entered unlawfully for an Immediate Relative Visa.

    Paul

    September 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    • Thank you for visiting our blog.

      Under the immigration laws, a U.S. Citizen may petition for his or her Immediate Relative even if that relative has fallen out of status but the immediate relative must have entered the United States legally.

      MithrasLaw

      September 22, 2009 at 12:29 am

      • I have U.S. citizen friend who married someone who has been out of status since 1990. Can this person file for Adjustment of Status? If so, what are the lists of documents to use to file for an immediate relative? Your help is much appreciated.

        Dave

        October 27, 2009 at 11:49 pm

      • Hello Dave,

        Thanks for visiting our blog.

        If your friend’s spouse has been out of status since 1990, it is advised they consult with an immigration attorney who can ascertain the correct answer based on the specific facts. With respect to specific documents required, the instruction form accompanying an I-130 will detail all the documents required.

        All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

        MithrasLaw

        December 21, 2009 at 7:37 pm

  2. hi there! i would like to know which is better and faster in petitioning my unmarried son & daughter ages over 21. i just arrived weeks ago as a legal permanent resident (i am petitioned by my u.s citizen daughter) right now. do you think its better now to file for my 3 unmarried children or wait until i become a u. s. citizen? also, how long will it take me to become a u. s. citizen? i will apreciate if your going to response my queries! my email add is maryann_mmarquez@yahoo.com

    thank you so much!
    maryann

    maryann marquez

    September 21, 2009 at 2:24 am

    • Thank you for visiting our blog.

      You can apply under the Famliy 2B second preference category (unmarried children over 21 years of age) which is based on allocation of a certain number of visas each year and it has a waitlist of 6+ years. Your United States Citizen status would not help your children in getting their legal permanent resident status any earlier because they not fall into any of the immediate relative categories.

      MithrasLaw

      September 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm

  3. Hello,

    I am planning to sponsor my mother from Canada. How is healthcare handled for immigrants. She will be considered a permanent resident, right? Is she entitled to Medicare or any other benefits? If not, how do I get insurance for her? How much does it cost on average?

    Thank you very much for your help!

    Vimal

    September 26, 2009 at 4:45 am

  4. hi
    my mom has her green card for 4 years and intend to apply for her citizenship in 1 year .I am over 21 unmarried and hold h1b visa currently in us. can my mom sponsor green card for me?if yes how long will it take for me to get it? and will i get any work permit in the mean time?also do i have to maintain my status h1b until i get greencard?
    thank you very much

    ritu

    October 15, 2009 at 7:54 am

    • Hello Ritu thanks for visiting our blog.

      Your mom can apply under the Family 2B second preference category (unmarried children over 21 years of age) which is based on allocation of a certain number of visas each year and it has a wait list of 6+ years. Your mother’s United States Citizen status would not help you in getting their legal permanent resident status any earlier because you not fall into any of the immediate relative categories. Maintaining a valid legal immigration status is important and necessary in order to be able to change status or adjust.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      October 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm

  5. I am planning on applying for my parents to get a green card. I am a U.S. citizen, they are retired wanting to come here and live with us. If I apply for the green card for them while they are in Europe, will the waiting time be longer, than if they were here and applied?

    Thank you
    Sasha

    Sasha Anderson

    October 21, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    • Hello Sasha,

      Thanks for visiting our blog.
      Both processes are different and the choice depends on your parents’ circumstances. If you apply for adjustment of status, they must stay here until they have their interview and get their green card in hand and cannot leave in the middle of the process. For more on comparing both the processess see our article (link below).

      https://immigrationinfo.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/obtaining-lawful-permanent-residence-by-adjustment-of-status/

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      December 21, 2009 at 7:04 pm

  6. I just become a US citizen and want to petition green card for my mom who is in China. Could you tell me which way is better, apply now when she is in China or get her over here on visitor visa and apply afterwards. What is the difference in time and complexity?

    thanks

    xmh

    October 28, 2009 at 3:36 am

    • Thanks for visiting our blog Xmh,

      The pros and cons are listed in our article at link : https://immigrationinfo.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/obtaining-lawful-permanent-residence-by-adjustment-of-status/
      Generally, adjustment of status is quicker than consular processing, but that will vary depending on region you are based.

      Hope this helps.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      December 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm

  7. Hello,

    I plan to file for a Green Card for my parents. I am a US Citizen. I have a few questions:

    1. My parents are in the US currently (on a visitor visa) for another 2 months – so should I file for Adjustment of Status (AOS) for them in the US or file for Consular processing? Which forms require these details?

    2. Is it ok to ask for a 6 month extension of the visitor visa, if I choose AOS?

    3. Is it possible I file, AOS and parents are in India?

    4. What do you recommed – AOS or Consular Processing?

    5. Can you also provide some other advantages? Like do they automatically qualify for Social Securuty, Medicare after their Green Card?

    6. What is the requirement once they have green card to retain the green card? Do they need to visit the US once every year? Do they have stay any number of min days in the US?

    Thanks in Advance,
    Raj

    Raj

    November 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    • Hello Raj,

      Thank you for visiting our blog.

      Along with an adjustment of status you will need to file a petition for an alien relative (I-130) and other documents. You can see our previous post discussing adjustment of status vs. consular processing and the link is attached here: https://immigrationinfo.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/obtaining-lawful-permanent-residence-by-adjustment-of-status/

      If you file before your parents’ visitor visa expires and the application is accepted by the USCIS you will not need to file for an extension of the their visitor’s visa because they have a pending petition with the USCIS which is being adjudicated.

      Adjustment of status must be filed while your parents are in the United States and have entered lawfully — you cannot apply when they are in India.

      Hope this was helpful and good luck.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      December 22, 2009 at 6:46 pm

  8. Hello,
    My son is a 21 years old Citizen, he applying for me to get my Permanent Resident.
    I have 12 years old Daughter, and I like to know what the best way to applyng for her.
    It’s better I get my LPR and apply for her, or My son? We are already in US, and we entry legally.
    Thank you

    Elenir

    November 7, 2009 at 4:30 am

    • Hello Elenir,
      Thanks for visiting our blog.

      If your son were to apply for his sister, she would be in the 4th preference category and subject to a numerical cap, which has a very long wait. On the other hand, if you were to apply for your daughter after receiving your citizenship she would qualify as an immediate relative (unmarried children under 21) and not be subject to a numerical cap or waiting – which would be the quickest method but you will have to wait for your citizenship before applying for your daugther. Alternatively, after you get your green card you can apply as a child of a green card holder, which again is subject to a numerical cap and a wait.

      Hope this helps you.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      December 22, 2009 at 7:21 pm

  9. If am 12 years old and a US Citizen can i potition my mother who live’s here in the US with me.

    Saddie

    November 8, 2009 at 4:55 am

    • Thanks Saddie for visiting our blog.

      Unfortunately, if applying for a parent to be a permanent resident, the US citizen child must be at least 21 years old.

      Good luck.
      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      December 22, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  10. Hello:

    Greetings..!

    This is a very useful blog for folks like me looking for immigration related info.

    I have a couple of questions for I-130/I-485 concurrent filing for my widowed Mother. I got my US Citizenship a couple of months ago and we live in Austin, TX.
    My Mother (who is a Citizen of India) has a 10-yr multiple entry Visitor Visa. She has visited us several times and has never overstayed.

    Her last entry to US was on June 8th 2009 and her VISA stamping on I-90 shows that she is admitted until 9th Dec 2009. She is currently with us and her return ticket is booked for the 6th of Dec, 2009.
    Now, I am thinking of concurrently filing I-130/I-485 in the next week after getting the medical examinations, etc..

    My questions are:
    1. If I mail-in the completed forms sometime next week, is it enough time for her to stay with us until we hear from USCIS regarding the approval? Is the “effective receipt date” the same as the mailing date?

    2. If the application is not valid until we get an official notice of receipt from USCIS and if we do not get that notice of receipt by Dec first week and if my Mother leaves the country, are the applications (for I130 and I485) considered abandoned?

    If this can be best discussed over an paid appointment, please let me know and give me your contact numbers and I will contact you directly.

    Thanks,
    Shashi

    Shashi

    November 13, 2009 at 6:41 am

  11. I lived and worked in US for 12 years on E1 and H1 visas.
    We had to leave US after 5 years on H1 visa and return to UK.
    I have a son now 21 living at home (in UK) studying at university.
    My son was born in US and is over 21 so how can he sponsor a greencard for me.
    Thanks

    Steve

    November 13, 2009 at 3:12 pm

  12. Thank you for your website. Assume a US Citizen Chinese wants to apply for a green card for her parents. If they both worked their whole lives for the People’s Liberation Army, could this make them “undesirable”, having been once the military enemy of the USA? Second quesiton: how long a residency in the US is usually required to get a green card? I assume 2 years.

    kim

    November 15, 2009 at 12:30 am

  13. Hi,

    My sister is a greencard holder and my parents are visiting us from Pakistan, Is there anyway that we can file there greencard or AOS in US while they are visiting?We dont want them to leave US as things are pretty bad back home.

    I know it is US citizen who are able to sponsor their parents but is there any way a Greencard holder can do so?

    Thank you

    Sanober

    January 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

    • Hi Sanober,

      Thank you for visiting our blog. Unfortunately, your sister is not eligible to apply for your parents as a green card holder. Your sister will need to naturalize as a U.S. Citizen before she is eligible to apply for a green card for your parents.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      February 10, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  14. Hi,
    Im a US citizen. My mom arrived on a tourist visa about a month ago – very first visit. In your experience, is it ok to apply for a AOS now given that she just came as a tourist? Have you seen anyone get rejected for this reason? What happens if she gets rejected?
    Thx,
    Ganesh

    Ganesh

    February 9, 2010 at 10:13 am

  15. Hello i have just come across your Blog….
    I live in the UK my daughter is a permenant resident in the USA waiting to become a citizen. Can she file to sponsor me while being a resident with a green card?
    Thank you.

    Sarafina

    March 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

  16. How long does it take to get green card after Affidavit of support is sent.

    Singh

    March 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

  17. Hi, i currently a permanent resident and i will be applying for my citizenship this October. I wanted to know the cost for me to become a citizen and how long it takes.
    Also, i want to sponsor my mother who is in Mexico and i wanted to know how long after i become a citizen will it take for my mother to obtain a green card and how much it will cost for her.

    My mother has been in the U.S. illegally but has never been deported, she left on her own will.
    I would really appreciate this information because want the process to be as quickly as possible.

    Thank You!

    Yadi

    May 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

  18. I am a US citizen and I filed form I-130 for my parents who are in India. The filing is in initial review stage and my parents need to visit US for an urgent medical issue. Am I able to file I-485 while they are here so that they continue the green card application here? Thanks

    John

    May 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm

  19. I am planning to file Green Card application for my parents via the concurrent filing/AOS option. Per the ‘legal concept of non-immigrant intent’, are there any special cases, only under which one should consider AOS filing while in the US?

    How do we decide if we can choose this option (other than the fact that it is for legally entered applicants, its faster and done entirely in the US), and that the application will not be denied?

    Thanks.

    Gandotra

    September 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

  20. hi. My father lost his u.s resident status because he stay out of u.s
    for too long I’m a us citizen 36 years old and would like to bring him back, can i make a petition ?

    Romel molina

    November 22, 2010 at 3:34 pm

  21. My situation: I live in Canada and I am unmarried child over 21 of my parents who are permanent residence since 2007. They applied for I130 for 2009. I got approved recently and is in post activity.

    I have bachelor in medical field and looking to try to move to usa soon as possible. My career does not fall in not TN category and H1b is very hard for me to get since employers say its hard for them to get apply for me in this economy. I want to get a work permit. My sister is USA citizen as well.

    Q1) What is the fastest way to get work permit?
    Q3) would my parents petition for me to get green card accelerate when they become citizen. Does the petition time when they were permanent citizen added to when they
    become Citizens? I know right now the visa office is at 2005April for PR petition and 2006 April(approx.) for citizen petition. Do I automatically fall into 2006 April once they become citizen? Do I get gain time?
    Q2) Do I need lawyer?

    I would greatly appreciate it if you can help me with this matter.

    Ash

    November 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

  22. Hi
    I am usa citizen from india. My parents live in india. How long does it take for getting usa greencard for my parents ?

    thanks

    kalpesh

    December 15, 2010 at 2:12 am

    • At present parents as immediate relatives of a US Citizen are able to get a green card relatively fast, approximately 6 months, if filed concurrently with AOS.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      January 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

  23. Hello,
    Can my mom apply for a green card for me as I am currently out of status and I have applied for visa waiver? Currenlty she holds a green card and I have also one of my brother who is a US citizen. Does applying for immigrant visa (green card) will have any thing to do with the visa waiver I applied for? Is there any dependency on it? What if they approved or reject my visa waiver? Should I wait for visa waiver and then apply for immigrant visa (green card)?

    Please advise

    Fred

    December 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm

  24. Hi,

    I am a US citizen and want to get GC for my parents who are 66 & 59 years old. However, my father’s date of birth as shown in the passport is different than that as per the municipal records. How this issue can be solved? My parents had applied and obtained Canadian GC in 1996 and at that time had got certificates of dates of birth from Indian Embassy. Will such cerificates be acceptable to US authorities?

    Mandar

    January 3, 2011 at 11:23 am

    • Hi Mandar,

      Thank you for visiting our blog. Where birth certificates are not obtainable the USCIS in certain circumstances does accept affidavits from individuals or family members (generally 2-3 are recommended) so that is something you may want to consider. If you want an affidavit format feel free to call/email our office.

      All information provided is for general informational and education purposes only as a service to our readers and based upon our understanding of the law and facts as we see them. We do not assume any liability and it does not constitute legal advice. Please use at your own risk.

      MithrasLaw

      January 7, 2011 at 10:21 am

  25. Hi
    I’m 20yrs and I’m planing to join the us army my parents live in mexico and want help them get the green card, if I get married would that make any difference?
    And should I start applying now that I’m 20 or I have to wait?

    jessica

    January 18, 2011 at 6:30 am

  26. Hi,

    I did file form I-130 for my mom back in Nov 2010. At that time she was not in the country.
    She entered the country with her Visitor visa in Dec 2010 and now I-130 has been approved.
    Can I file form I-485 since she is here?
    or should we follow the consular process?

    Thanks

    Hengil

    April 4, 2011 at 3:05 am

  27. Hi There,

    I am not US citizen. Its been 3.5 yrs since we got our Green Card. Is there any way I can apply GC for my parents if I am not US citizen?

    Aparna

    June 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm

  28. Hi I am a U.S citizen( i was born there) but I live in UK. i would like to apply GC for my parents. So can i apply for them when i live in the UK? is it better apply for them when they are in the US or in their country?

    pegah

    June 28, 2011 at 5:53 am

  29. hello, i am a us citizen and dont pay taxes,(stay at home mom) and my husband runs the family. can i still sponser my mom( she is a Indian citizen). How long will the process take, what is the process and during the approval time can she enter the U.S or does she have to wait for the approval.

    would really appreciate your help.

    thank you.

    guest

    September 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm

  30. Hi,
    I am 20 years old un married, i wanted to know if i could ask for my mother to be come a us citizen or atleast to get a green card. She has been living in the u.s for over 24 years now, and she doesnt have a bad record

    Sender

    October 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

  31. Hi,
    I am a US citizen and over 21 years. My parents have green card but are not citizens. I need to apply for my brothers residency (who is married and living in Pakistan). How long does it take if I apply for my brothers residency vs how long would it take if my parents apply. My parents just recieved their green card and they will have to wait for 5 years before they get their citizenship. Please advise

    Sandra

    October 3, 2011 at 2:32 am

  32. Hi,

    I am a US citizen and planning to file Green card for my father. My father does not have his marriage certificate and my mother has passed away. Can someone help me understand how to establish family relationship in form I – 130

    Thanks

    Yogesh

    November 3, 2011 at 11:05 am

  33. Hi i am a u.s citizen and i would like to apply for mother to come and stay with me in the u.s. she currently lives in guyana. how long would it take for her to get here & also would there be a fee for applying for her?

    amanda persaud

    November 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

  34. Can someone who is a U.S citizen file for their sister who is 21 years old and came to the U.S legally on a visa but overstayed…if yes, how long will it take? if that person were to return to their home country, would the process be faster? how long will it take before they can get a green card/ citizenship? Thank you so much.

    Jenn

    March 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm

  35. Hi .. how can a US citizen ( 12 years old ) sponsor his/her parents for a green card or at least a legal stay in the States??

    Jihad Istanbelly

    April 25, 2012 at 4:38 am

  36. Hi, I am a US citizen. I want my parents to visit US in 4.5 months since their last visit of duration 5.5 months. Will there be a problem at re-entry. People have told me that if they are planning to stay here for 6 months, at point-of-entry, the officer could think that they come so frequently, and stamp their I-94 for 2 months instead of the 6-months we want. But, if I file for their greencard, and receive uscis notice of processing before their I-94 stamp expires, wont that be OK? A friend said that they questioned her mom for about 2 hours since she was back within 3 months of her last visit.

    Zuprman

    April 27, 2012 at 9:37 am

  37. Hi, I am 18 a USA citizen born in NY. My family from N.of Africa .I want to bring my mam to USA.

    younes

    November 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm


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