Green Card for Parents: Myths and Facts

The US allows US citizens and some green card holders to arrange for a green card for family members. This helps ensure that families can live and stay in the US together, which in turn ensures that immigrants never have to choose between family and US citizenship. It is possible to sponsor a green card for family members, including siblings, children, and parents.

A green card for parents can in fact be easier to arrange than a green card for less immediate relatives. Parents are immediate relatives and can therefore receive a higher priority in the wait for US immigration visas than other family members. If your parents are currently outside the US, you will first need to apply for a visa through the consulate in the country where they reside. Once they are in the US, you can then petition for a green card for your parents. The entire US immigration process for parents can take about one year, although it can take less or more time, depending on the waiting time for visas. There are many myths about this process:

Myth #1: You must be wealthy to sponsor your parents.
Truth #1: You must be able to show that you can financially support your parents once they are in the US, so that they do not become a burden on social benefits. However, you only have to prove that you can support them, not that you are wealthy. You must generally show that your household is 125% above minimum poverty guidelines. If your parents are affluent or have money, they can self-sponsor or prove that they, themselves, can support themselves financially. As well, you can arrange to have more than one person in the US sponsor your parents, so that your combined income is larger. You must file I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and provide financial documents to prove that you can support your parents.

Myth #2: You can only sponsor one parent at a time.
Truth #2: You can sponsor as many people are you like to come to the US, but you must be able to show that you can support all of them. However, you will need to file a separate Petition for Alien Relative (form I-130) for each parent.

Myth #3: Anyone can sponsor a parent.
Truth #3: Under current US immigration regulations, you must be a US citizen over the age of 21 to be a sponsor.