VIDEO: St. Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking Explains that LPRs Can’t Sponsor Parents for Green Cards

If a US citizen sponsors their wife or husband for a Green Card, and that spouse comes to the United States, can they then sponsor their own parents for a Green Card of their own? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, Immigration Attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri. One of the nice things about working in immigration is that you get to help families, and you get to help them over a period of time. You get to know the families and really become part of their lives. It’s a nice part of the job.

When people come as the spouse of a US citizen, they often want to know how fast can they get their mom or dad to the United States. Their first question is, can they themselves as newly minted Green Card holders, sponsor their mom or dad at that point for a Green Card? The answer is no. That’s because Green Card holders are not eligible to sponsor parents for Green Cards of their own. They can sponsor a spouse or a child but not their parents.

The next question usually is, well can my US citizen husband who just sponsored me, sponsor my parents? The answer to that question is no. You have to be a US citizen and you have to be the actual child of the overseas mom and dad. Really, the only option for people in that situation other than to have their parents just come visit on a visitor visa, if they want to get them a true Green Card, what they need to do is they need to get their citizenship.

Typically, citizenship requires five years of lawful permanent residency, but if you’re married to a US citizen, that’s only three years. The way it would work is, once you come to the United States and receive your Green Card, two years and nine months after the date on your Green Card, that is three months before the third year on your Green Card, you can apply for citizenship. Once you get citizenship, then you can apply to bring your parents over, and there’s an immediate visa available for them. That’ll be much quicker and it’s the only way to do it, if you want to sponsor your overseas parents.

This is something we help people with all the time. If you have any questions about this part of the process, give us a call, (314) 961-8200, or you can email me,  Thanks a lot.