How to bring parents on green card to America, how to file green card for parents?

A US citizen age 21 years or over can sponsor green card (permanent residency) for parents, spouse, children, and siblings. Priority is given to spouse, children, and parents while sibling’s application can take much longer to process.

The application process is simple and do-it-yourself, you do not need a lawyer for this. However, depending on your specific case, you may take help from a qualified immigration lawyer.

Are you a US Citizen and thinking of bringing your parents to USA on green card? Here is a step-by-step process to sponsor green card for parents:


Step 1: File an immigration petition for beneficiary (i.e. your parents)

  • Form I-130 is filed by the US Citizen for the parent(s). If filing for both parents, a separate application form I-130 should be completed. Application should be filed and submitted with USCIS. At present, the application form I-130 is a paper application only, that needs to downloaded from USCIS website, completed, and mailed.
  • Immigration petition form I-130 can be downloaded at http://www.uscis.gov/i-130.
  • Current green card immigration petition filing fee: $420 USD (as of April 2011).
  • Depending on the applicable USCIS service center workload, it may take 3 months or more.

If parents are outside USA: if the I-130 is approved, your parents will be informed and required to attend the green card interview at the applicable nearest US consulate in their home country. Interview needs to be scheduled, and may require a medical exam. Parents need to pay the fee and attend the interview. If everything goes well, they will be granted “immigration visa” (green card). At their first arrival in USA, they will get the stamp at the port of entry (POE) by an immigration officer, and in few days, they will receive plastic green card delivered to US mailing address.

You can also start the green card process once your parents are present in US on visa.

If parents are already present in USA: you can file immigration petition I-130 and AOS (I-485) together.

Filing AOS (I-485):

If the beneficiary (i.e. your parents) are already physically and legally present in U.S. (on a visa like visitor visa), you can file for Adjustment of status (AOS) by filing form I-485, along with the applicable fee per applicant. Once the application is filed, the beneficiary can remain in US, based on the receipt of the AOS.

Current fee for I-485 application: $985 (each applicant) + additional $85 for biometrics fee (each applicant)

Step 2. Form G-325A, Biographical Information

Get more information at http://www.uscis.gov/g-325a

Fee: There is no fee for this form

Step 3. Form I-864 Affidavit of support by sponsor (you) for your parents

Purpose of this form: Affidavit of support (I-864) required by the sponsor, to affirm that the sponsor will support beneficiary immigrant fully. And sponsor has adequate means of financial support to new immigrant and the immigrant is not likely to become public charge in America.

Download the form and instructions to file here: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-864.pdf

Step 4. Medical exam along with form I-693

Report of medical examination and vaccination record can be submitted directly by the approved surgeon/medical provider who is authorized by USCIS for this service. See more information on USCIS website. There is no USCIS fee for this, but the doctor can charge approx $300+ for this service.

OPTIONAL forms and application for beneficiary:

Following optional forms can be filed if the person is already in US and you are filing AOS. These are Work authorization (EAD) and AP (advance parole) travel document in case parents need to travel out of US and return to USA while the green card being processed. File these only if you believe they need to work or travel out of USA during the process, else no need to waste the money and efforts.

Step 5. Form I-765 EAD: Work Authorization Application for Employment Authorization (EAD)

Get information and instructions http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.

Current fee: $380 (as of April 2011).

Step 6. Form I-131 Application for Travel Document (AP)

Get information and instructions to file this form from http://www.uscis.gov/i-131

Current fee: $360 (as of April 2011)

Supporting documents during this process of green card for parents: Following is the list of commonly asked and required documents. Depending on your case, and specific situation you may require other documents.

Documents for parent(s)

1. Copy of birth certificate of the beneficiary (parents)
2. Copy of parents' marriage certificate (if filing for both parents)
3. Copy of parent's I-94 card - both sides.
4. Copy of parent's passport (entire copy)
5. Copy of parent's US Visa.

Sponsor Documents:

1. Copy of Naturalization/Citizenship Certificate.
2. Copy of the US passport.
3. Copy of sponsor’s birth certificate.
4. Financial documents, proof of income (last few salary stubs), last few tax returns, proof of employment (W2 forms), letter of employment, bank statements, savings, 401K certificate, and other documents demonstrating your financial strength.

Commonly asked questions:

Can a green card holder sponsor green card for parents or siblings?
NO, only a US Citizen can sponsor a green card for parents or family members.

How long does it take to get the green card for parents once the application is filed?
For certain categories like parents, spouse and children, the green card processing time is much less as compared to other family-based green card applications. Depending on the service center you have filed with, it can take few months to several months. In most cases, the application is processed within 6 months.

While the green card is pending, can my parents work in USA?
No, unless you have applied and got the EAD for them, they cannot work and receive any compensation.

How can I get health insurance for my parents who will become permanent residents?
See this article about Health insurance for green card holders.