How do I get my parents a green card? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri, and San Diego, California I mean to say. We’re getting ready to open up our San Diego office. Any support you can throw our way, any immigrants you know in the San Diego area who need help, please tell them about our firm. We’re excited about getting started in a new city, San Diego, California, beautiful San Diego. Anyway, we’ve been getting some comments in the Facebook group about green cards for parents.
One of the members of the immigrant home Facebook group asked, “What’s the process for getting a green card for my mom or dad?” Now, of course, in order to sponsor your parents for a green card, number one, they have to be inside the United States. Now, we’ll shoot another video tomorrow to talk about how to get an immigrant visa for your parents. But for now, we’re going to talk about green cards for parents who are actually in the United States.
They might be here on a visit visa. They might have overstayed a visa. They might have come on a non-immigrant visa, something other than a visit visa. If they’re in the United States, you can file an I-130 petition for an alien relative, if you are a US citizen. Only US citizens can sponsor their parents for a green card. Green card holders cannot sponsor their parents for a green card of their own. The other thing to keep in mind is that the US citizen must be 21 years old. The US citizen would have to reach the age of 21, and the parents would have to be in the United States, and the US citizen could file an I-130 petition for them.
One of the nice things about sponsoring your parents for a green card is if they are out of status, that is if they enter the United States legally, and were inspected at the border, and allowed into the United States. Even if they worked in the United States without authorization, and even if they overstayed their visa, the fact that they are the mom or dad of a US citizen allows them to adjust their status and to get into lawful permanent residence status, which of course is the last step before you apply for citizenship. You file the I-30 petition, and you file an I-45 application. That’s a application by your parent to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident. You’re also going to file a I-31 to get them a travel document, and an I-765 to get them a work permit. Even if they don’t plan on working, you’re going to want to submit that evidence as well. You’re also going to need to file an affidavit of support, an I-864.
Your parents are going to have to have a medical exam. You’re either going to want to file that with the initial application, or you’re going to want to get it done once you get the interview notice in the mail. They’re going to have to go see a USCIS civil surgeon, get inspected medically, and get certified that they don’t have any communicable diseases, and that they don’t have any medical bars on entering into the United States or entering as lawful permanent residents, becoming lawful permanent residents.
The question that started all this was whether or not mom or dad will have an interview. Now, in the old days, we frequently did not have green card interviews for mom and dad. Sometimes you would, I think, on a random basis, or if there was some kind of a problem with the case. Now, we’ve been seeing green card interviews for everybody that applies. I think, at least for the foreseeable future, you can anticipate mom and dad having a green card interview. When that green card interview comes will depend on which field office you are at, how busy that field office is. The smaller cities, you can look at seven, eight months, nine months. The busier service centers, like in Manhattan or in San Jose, you’re talking 16, 18 months.
The big issue is that you’re going to need to establish that they are in fact your parent. Hopefully, you have a birth certificate that was generated at or around the time that you were born. One problem we’ve been seeing are birth certificates that are generated long after the fact, long after someone was born, when the person who was doing the sponsoring was an adult. We have seen requests for DNA tests or requests for evidence that show that you have lived as parent and child throughout your life. You have to establish that family relationship. Really, that’s the main thing. It’s not like a marriage case where you have to prove all this marital evidence. They’re actually pretty straightforward cases for the most part.
If you have questions about getting a green card for mom or dad, and if they’re in the United States, give us a call, (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos like this one. You can find us on Instagram @hackinglawpracticeLLC. And then, of course, every Tuesday and Thursday we’re live in the Facebook group, and the YouTube channel on most Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 12:00 to 1:00 Central. Would love to see you there. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.