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Green Card for Parents of U.S. Citizens (IR-5 Immigrant Visa)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Jan 31, 2019)

If you are a U.S. citizen, who is at least 21 years of age, you may file a petition to classify your parents as immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen and sponsor their immigration to the United States.

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Permanent residents cannot petition for immigration of their parents, until they naturalize (become citizens).

There is no numerical limitation on the visas for immediate relatives.  Therefore, an immigrant visa would be immediately available to your parents.  There would be no waiting time, except for the processing time at the USCIS and the U.S. Department of State, if applicable.

How can I file a petition to sponsor my parents for immigration?

To apply for immediate relative classification of your parents, you must file a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) together with the supporting evidence. You must file a separate petition for each parent.

To see the current USCIS fee for this petition, see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate your petition, see USCIS Processing Times

What happens after the classification petitions for my parents are approved?

If your parents are in the United States and qualify, they may apply for adjustment of status.  Actually, if your parents are here and qualify, they should file an Adjustment of Status together with your petition. Note that, as immediate relatives, your parents will be forgiven for some immigration violations, which ordinarily would render an applicant ineligible to adjust status here.  See Adjustment of Status Eligibility Requirements, though there are exceptions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.

If your parents are outside of the United States or do not qualify to file for adjustment of status, they must go through consular processing, to actually receive immigrant visas.

Can I sponsor my father even if my parents were not married when I was born?

Yes. Your supporting documentation must show that either (a) your father actually married your mother before your 18th birthday in a marriage recognized under the local laws, or (b) there was an emotional or financial relationship between you and your father before you reached the age of 21 or before you married, whichever earlier.

Can I sponsor a step-parent?

Yes. Your supporting documentation must include proof of the marriage of your step-parent to your natural parent and documents showing the termination of all prior marriages, if any, of your natural parent and your step-parent.

Can I sponsor an adoptive parent?

Yes. Your supporting documentation must show that your adoptive parent adopted you before your 16th birthday and must show the dates and places where you lived with your adoptive parent.

Can I include the other children of my parents on the petition?

No. Other children of your parents (your siblings or step-siblings) cannot be listed as derivative beneficiaries on the petition you file for your parents. Once your parents become permanent residents, they can file a separate petition to sponsor their children.  See Immigration of Children of Legal Permanent Residents (LPR).  If another child of your parents qualifies as your brother or sister, you can file a separate petition for him or her.  See Immigration of Brothers & Sisters of U.S. Citizens.

Related Topics:

Traveling Outside of the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Working in the United States during the Immigration Application Process

Applying for Citizenship

Waiver for Battered/Abused Spouses, Children, & Parents


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