If you’re a United States citizen, you might be thinking of the possibility of petitioning your parents. One of the first things that a lot of our clients want to do once they receive their citizenship is they want to know options for bringing their parents. Because sometimes, your parents might want to come and also live in the United States with you as green card holders or your parents might already be in the United States and you’re looking for options for them to be able to remain here permanently.
Who’s eligible to petition for your parents?
Firstly, you have to be over 21 years old and you have to be a United States citizen to be able to petition for your parents. You can’t be a green card holder. You have to be a United States citizen. That’s one of the benefits of becoming a citizen: the ability to petition for your parents.
Another requirement is that you are either the biological child or the stepchild of your parent. For biological children, we would just have to show your birth certificate listing your your mother and your father as your biological parents in order for you to petition for them.
However, it’s really important to know you can also apply you can petition for your step parents to be green card holders as well. In order to qualify as a stepchild that can petition for their parent, your step parent had to have married your your biological parent before your 18th birthday. Before you turned 18, that individual has to be your stepmother or stepfather. If your parents would have had to have gotten married before your 18th birthday, then you’d also be able to petition for your step parent. Those are the main eligibility requirements.
Options for Petitioning
There’s two main options available for being able to petition for your parents to receive their green cards. There’s an option called consular processing and that’s for individuals who are outside of the United States. One of the steps in the process is that your biological or step parent would have to actually go to a US embassy or consulate abroad for an interview before they could enter the United States as a green card holder. If your parent is living outside of the country, that would be the option that would be available to them.
Some individuals have parents who are already living in the United States. For those individuals, they might be eligible for adjustment of status, which means that they can actually apply for the process here while they are in the United States to receive their green card.
There’s a lot of eligibility questions that we as attorneys have to ask if that is the situation because there’s lots of issues that can arise in that context if the person is already here. One of the requirements for that adjustment of status would be that the parent had entered the United States with inspection, which means that they’ve entered the United States with some kind of visa that they’ve come through a port of entry and been inspected.
For other parents, if they’ve ever entered the United States without documents and been in the US without documents, they might not have an option available to them for their children to petition for them here in the US.
There is an option for individuals in that situation who happen to have children in the US military. Those children can potentially petition for their parents. There’s some special exceptions there but just know that there are two paths available to be able to bring your parents.
One is if they’re outside of the United States called consular processing. And then for some individuals who are here in the United States, they can go through an adjustment of status.
But the main takeaway is that if you’re over 21 years of age, a United States citizen, and you’re wanting to petition for your parents to receive their green card, we would love to help you. This is something that comes up for many of our clients once they get to the phase of their case where they naturalize and become citizens. It’s a huge benefit to be able to bring your family members as well. We’d love to help you with your case if you’re interested in bringing your parents or petitioning for your parents.