A How to Guide on Obtaining Green Cards for Your Parents

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Family-Based Green Card for Parents

Green cards fall into various categories. When you take on the responsibility of getting a green card for your parents, it falls into the family-based green card one. If you are a US citizen, and at least 21-years-old, you may petition to get them for your parents.

By going this route, your parents do not wait until they get a visa number. Typically, visas for parents take priority over other categories.

Overview of Required Documentation

You always include Form-I-130 for each parent, your birth certificate and US passport when you petition for a biological parent, stepparent or adoptive parent. If you were born outside the United States, you provide your Certificate of Naturalization.

Include a copy of the marriage certificate when sponsoring your biological father. If you were legitimized after the age of 18, include documentation to support this.

When sponsoring a stepparent, provide a civil marriage certificate; this needs to demonstrate that the marriage took place before you turned 18. Additional accepted documentation includes a copy of a death certificate or a divorce or annulment decree.

For an adoptive parent, also include an official copy of an adoption certificate – this needs to show you were adopted before you turned 16. Additionally, submit proof that you live with your adoptive parent.

Sponsorship Process

Make sure you submit the required documents and a separate application for each parent. You will pay a $420 filing fee.

After that, fill out Form G-325A – this gathers biographical information. You do not pay a filing fee when you submit this.

Next, you complete Form I-864, also known as an affidavit of support. This form identifies you as the sponsor, and it means you become financially responsible for your parents.

After your parents undergo their medical exams, the physician will give you Form I-693. It should come in a sealed envelope.

Employment Authorization Document

Some optional forms exist. A common example is when parents want to obtain employment authorization. If either parent wants to seek employment, make sure you submit Form I-765, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You pay a $380 filing fee for each form in addition to an $85 service fee.

Application for Travel

If a sponsored parent needs to get back into the United States, fill out Form I-131. A parent can use this as a re-entry permit, a refugee travel document, or an advanced parole document.

Processing Time

Processing times vary. It usually takes around two months, but it may take up to six months.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can My Parents Adjust Their Statuses if They Already Came to the United States?

If your parents already live here, file Form I-130, along with an Adjustment of Status.

If your parents live outside the United States and already have an approved petition, they will have an interview at the closest US consulate. Schedule this in advance because they will undergo medical examinations.

The interview takes place after you pay all the fees. If everything goes well, your parents receive their immigration visas. They will receive a stamp at the port of entry upon arrival here. They should receive their green cards within a few days.

Do My Parents Have to Live in the United States Year-Round?

Green card holders must have a permanent home here. Do not take trips outside the United States for longer than six months.

Can I Sponsor My Parents or a Sibling with a Green Card?

Only US citizens can sponsor green cards for their parents. Green card holders may only sponsor their children or a spouse.

Can My Parents Work Here if Their Green Cards are Pending?

The government must process all documentation before your parents may work here. Obtain an EAD to make the process easier.

Sponsorship Conclusion

Use a checklist to ensure you submit all the required documentation. Loan options exist for those who need financial help.


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