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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's Parent

Q: As a U.S. citizen, what kind of family members can I sponsor for U.S. Green Card?

A: Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible for permanent resident status as immediate relatives. The U.S. citizen child must be 21 years of age or older to apply for a parent's immigration. 

The process of completing and submitting an application of Green Card for your relatives can be confusing. You may submit an application for a Green Card if you have a close family relation. You can sponsor the following family members:

  • Husband or wife;

  • Widow or widower of a U.S. citizen;

  • Brother or sister (including half-brothers and half-sisters);

  • Son or daughter (including illegitimate children);

  • Stepson or stepdaughter;

  • Stepparent of a U.S. citizen child;

  • Adopted son or daughter;

  • Adopted parent;

  • Father or mother;

  • Battered or abused spouse or child.

Q: Who can be a beneficiary for U.S. immigration? and what are the immigration "preferences"?

A. The "immediate relatives" of a U.S. citizen, including parents, spouses, widows, and children of a U.S. Citizen (children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age), can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any visa numerical restrictions. 

They can apply for the permanent resident status without any waiting time. The rest of the beneficiaries are divided into several groups called "preferences." Each preference is given a numerical quota per year to limit the number of immigrants admitted into the United States. The four preferences are as follows:

  • 1st Preference: applies to unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;

  • 2nd Preference: applies to spouses and unmarried sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents;

  • 3rd Preference: applies to married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;

  • 4th Preference: siblings of U.S. citizens.

Q: What is the definition of "immediate relatives" of U.S. citizens?

A: Parents, unlike siblings, are considered by the USCIS as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. This means parents are given priority. However, before the Green Card process is started, U.S. citizens must have enough income or assets to support their parents. The USCIS will take the income into account when granting Green Cards to parents.

Children can get Green Cards for their parents as long as they are at least 21 years old. In fact, many individuals, such as parents, become permanent residents, also called a Green Card holder, through family members, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Q. How do I know if I qualify as a beneficiary or not? 

A. Beneficiaries are strictly defined, and one has to meet the definition of its category at the time that the application of adjustment of status is approved. Those who do not meet the definitions cannot immigrate to the United States through family based immigration.

An "immediate relative" of a U.S. citizen is the spouse, parent, widow, or child of the U.S. citizen. Specifically, a "child" is the son or daughter of a U.S. citizen, who is unmarried and under the age of 21. An adopted child qualifies as long as the adoption was finalized before the child's 16th birthday. A stepchild qualifies as long as the marriage had occurred before the stepchild's 18th birthday. A "parent" must meet the same test as for the "child". One thing to point out is that a father-in-law or mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen are not "parents" of the U.S. citizen for immigration purposes. 

Q: What kind of child-parent relation is qualified for U.S. immigration application?

A: Make sure your parents fall into any of these categories:

  • Natural father or natural mother;

  • Stepfather or stepmother, if he or she married your parent before you were 18 years old;

  • Adopted father or adopted mother, if you were adopted before you turned 16 years old.

Q: How to sponsor U.S. citizen's parents Green Card application?

A: There are many questions surrounding Permanent Residency, Citizenship, and how family members, spouses, and children may benefit. It is important for individuals to know what family members they might be able to bring to the United States permanently.

U.S. permanent residents may sponsor neither their parents nor siblings for a Green Card. Only U.S. citizens may do this. However, even U.S. citizens may not bring siblings to the U.S. without an extended waiting period. Parents of U.S. citizens are regarded as "immediate relatives" and are not subject to numerical limitations. They only have to wait for the necessary paperwork processing. This includes the Form I-130 application in the immediate relative category and consular processing for immigrant visa, if the parent is abroad. 

If the U.S. citizen's parent happens to be in the U.S., then it may be possible to file the Form I-130 and Form I-485 at the same time and obtain permanent residence from within the U.S. 

Q: Is there any age requirement to sponsor my mother immigration to United Stats?

A: Yes, there is an age requirement to sponsor a U.S. citizen's parents immigration to United Stats. If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to petition for an immigrant visa for your parents to live and work permanently in the United States. If you are a U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident, you are not eligible to apply to bring your parents to live and work permanently in the United States.

Q: How do I know if my father is eligible for a U.S. Green Card?

A: If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to petition to bring your parent to live and work permanently in the United States as a Green Card holder. As the sponsor of your parent, you must show that your household income is sufficient to support your family and your brother or sister at 125% or more above the U.S. poverty level for your household size. 

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to sponsor my parent for a U.S. Green Card?

A: The United States promotes family unity and allows U.S. citizens to petition for certain relatives to come and live permanently in the United States. This includes the U.S. citizen’s mother and father. In order to file an immigrant petition for your parent, you must be a U.S. citizen and you must be at least 21 years of age. If you are a Lawful Permanent Resident, you are not eligible to sponsor your parent for U.S. Green Card.

Also, the U.S. citizen must be residing in the United States and be willing to financially sponsor the parents for a period of up to ten years. If the child does not have the financial resources to sponsor the parent, a family member or friend can help with the financial sponsorship. A Green Card for parents of lawful permanent resident is not available; a Green Card cannot be obtained for the parent of a Green Card holder until the child takes the oath of U.S. citizenship.

Q: As a Green Card holder, how can I bring my mother to United States?

A: Permanent residents may not bring parents to live permanently in the United States. After you become a citizen of the United States, you may help your parents become lawful permanent residents of the United States. To do so, you need to sponsor your parent. You are eligible to get a Green Card for parents if you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. You also must be able to prove that you have enough income or assets to support your parent when they come to the U.S.

Q: Can I sponsor other family members for U.S. Green Card application, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents? 

A: More distant relatives, such as aunts / uncles, cousins, and grandparents cannot be sponsored for a Green Card. Even U.S. citizens cannot petition for these relatives. It may be possible to invite them for a temporary visit on a visitor's visa, depending upon whether they have sufficient ties to their respective home countries to show that they have no immigrant intent. 

Of course, they may also be sponsored if they are qualified and the sponsoring relative owns a business, or is able to find employment for the foreign national relative under the employment-based preference categories. 

Q: What are the basic steps to sponsor my parent for a U.S. Green Card?

A: Sponsoring your parent for a U.S. Green Card is a two-step process. The first step is the "Immigrant Petition" which establishes that a qualifying relationship exists between the sponsor and the foreign parent. The second step is the application for the Green Card. 

If the foreign parent is in the U.S., then it may be possible to file the Immigrant Petition (Form I-130) and Green Card Application (Form I-485) at the same time. This is known as "concurrent filing". If your parent is outside the U.S., then the "Green Card" application will be made at a U.S. consulate in his or her country of residence.

Q: What is the application process for my parents immigration?

A: The application process depends on whether the alien parent is inside or outside of the United States. If the alien parent is already within the United States in a nonimmigrant status, the U.S. citizen can file an immigration petition (Form I-130), and the parent can file an application to adjust status to permanent resident (I-485) at the same time. 

If the alien parent is outside of the United States, the U.S. citizen should file an immigration petition (Form I-130), and request that USCIS notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where the parent lives. The USCIS sends the approval notice to the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department, who then sends “Packet 3” to the U.S. citizen. After the necessary forms are completed, the parent goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa. The parent becomes a U.S. permanent resident when he or she enters the United States on an immigrant visa.

Q: My parents are currently in United States, how to apply for Green Card for them?

A: In order to obtain a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens when the parent is located in the United States, the U.S. citizen and foreign national parent will apply for the Green Card using the Adjustment of Status process - Form I-485 application. Because the foreign national parent is considered to be the immediate relative of the U.S. citizen child, many issues that would make adjustment of status impossible for another type immigrant will be waived for the parent.

Q: My parents entered U.S. legally, but overstayed here. How to apply for Green Card for them in this case?

A: Some parents who are presently in the United States unlawfully can take advantage of the Adjustment of Status process, and stay in the U.S. for the duration of processing, while other types of Green Card applicants would need to return to the home country and apply there. However, parents who entered the United States without inspection (EWI) may not be permitted to stay in United States and adjust status.

If the parent entered the U.S. legally, he or she can do an Adjustment of Status within U.S. The parent of a U.S. citizen does not have to be in legal status in U.S. Also, the immigrant petition for parents of a U.S. citizen has no numerical limits.

Q: My parents are outside the United States, how to apply for Green Card for them?

A: The process for obtaining a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens where the parents are located outside the US is a little different than if the parents are in the U.S. In order to obtain a Green Card for parents of U.S. citizens where the parents are currently in a foreign country, the U.S. citizen child begins the process by submitting a petition to USCIS from within the United States. 

Once USCIS approves the initial immediate relative petition, the application package moves to the U.S. State Department’s National Visa Center (NVC) where each party to the application (parent and child) will be responsible for completing individual tasks. 

Q: My parents are outside the United States, how to provide financial support and other documents?

A: The U.S. citizen child must complete and submit a satisfactory affidavit form of support with Form I-864, in which the child agrees to be financially responsible for the parent for a period of up to ten years. The foreign national parent, on the other hand, will be responsible for completing U.S. State Department visa forms and gathering necessary vital records from government officials, such as birth certificates and police certificates. 

Q: Is it possible for me to file an immigration petition for my mother-in-law?

A: The parents of a spouse are not considered “parents” for immigration purposes. In other words, a U.S. citizen may not sponsor an immigrant petition for a father-in-law or mother-in-law. The spouse may petition for parents if that spouse is a U.S. citizen.

Q: Is it possible for me file an immigration petition for my step-father?

A: If the U.S. citizen is a stepchild of the alien parent, the marriage creating the stepchild relationship must have been taken place before the child's 18th birthday. 

Q: As an adopted children, is it possible for me file an immigration petition for my parents?

A: If the U.S. citizen child is adopted, the adoption must have been finalized before the child's 16th birthday. Furthermore, the parent must have had legal custody of the child for at least two years, either before or after the adoption. The child must also have resided with the adoptive parent for at least two years either before or after the adoption. 

Q: My father is visiting us with B2 visa in U.S. How can I apply for immigration for him? 

A: You begin the parent Green Card application process by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. If your parents are already in the U.S. and entered legally, then they may be able to file an I-485 application to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident at the same time as you file the I-130 relative petition.

Q: Is there any numerical restrictions for parents immigration each year?

A: Parents of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical restrictions. Parents of U.S. citizens have special immigration priority, and do not have to wait in line for a visa number to become available for them to immigrate, because there are an unlimited number of visas for their particular categories.

Q: My mother is already in the United States. What is the procedure for fingerprints and interview?

A: A sponsoring son or daughter can file the immigrant petition (Form I-130) and Green Card application (Form I-485) with USCIS, and the USCIS will process these applications. Within a few months, the parent may receive a fingerprint appointment. 

USCIS will also schedule an interview at the local USCIS office. At the interview, the officer can approve the Green Card, or ask for additional evidence or hold until the applicant’s security clearance and fingerprints have been cleared by the FBI.

Q: My father is in his home country. What is the procedure for his immigrant interview?

A: A sponsoring son or daughter first needs to file the immigrant petition (Form I-130) with USCIS, and the USCIS will forward the petition to the National Visa Center for security checks and other processing. The NVC will then forward the petition to the U.S. Consulate in the parent’s home country. The parent will need to go to interview at the U.S. Consulate in the parent’s home country, and then enters the U.S. as a Green Card holder 

Q: How to apply for work permit for my parents who are in U.S. already?

A: After filing for an Adjustment of Status, the parents can apply for an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) and a permit (Advanced Parole) to travel out of the U.S., while awaiting the status adjustment interview. 

Q: How long does the immigration process take if the parents are outside the U.S.?

A: If the parents are not present in the U.S., they will have their interview in the U.S. consulate or embassy in their country. This process takes about one year in most consulates.

Q: Can my mother bring my 15 years old sister together to U.S. after my I-130 for them approved? 

A: Because an immediate relative cannot be accompanied by anyone else on their petition, the under 21 year old unmarried children of the parent cannot get U.S. residence along with the parent. The U.S. citizen will have to file for his/her siblings separately, or the parent can file for their other unmarried children when they receive their own U.S. permanent residence.

Q: Do I need to submit Form I-864 as evidence of financial support?

A: The U.S. citizen petitioner needs to submit an affidavit of support (Form I-864) to show that the beneficiary will not become a public charge. One thing to note is that anyone submit an affidavit of support for a permanent resident case must be actually residing in the U.S. at the time the affidavit of support is submitted.

Therefore, children born in the U.S. but residing in another country will need to move back earlier to the U.S. and live in the U.S. in order to apply for their parents. This is a requirement for all petitions of relative petitioners.

Q: Does my father need to get Work Permits to work in U.S.?

A: Your parent does not need to apply for a work permit once they are admitted as an immigrant with their Green Card (immigrant visa), or have already been approved for adjustment to permanent resident status. As a legal permanent resident, your parent should receive a Permanent Resident Card (commonly referred to as a 'Green Card') that will prove that your parent has a right to live and work in the United States permanently. 

If your parent is now outside the United States, he will receive a passport stamp upon arrival in the United States. This stamp will prove that he is allowed to work until a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card) is created.

If your parent is in the U.S. and has applied to adjust to permanent resident status (by filing USCIS Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), he is eligible to apply for a work permit while their case is pending. Your brother or sister should use USCIS Form I-765 to apply for a work permit.

Q: My father entered the U.S. without inspection, can he adjusts his status in United States?

A: If the alien parent entered the U.S. without inspection (illegally, without passport or visa), as a general rule, he will have to return to the native country and have the interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate there.

Q: How to file the I-130 petition for my mother?

A: The I-130 form is used to request an immigrant visa for an alien relative. You need to attach proof of your citizenship or naturalization, such as naturalization certificate or a U.S. passport. You should submit the petition to the appropriate USCIS address. When filing the I-130 petition, also you need to attach the required documents proving the beneficiary's relationship with you. 

If your mother is already in the U.S., she may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status in U.S. by submitting Form I-485 -- Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status.

Q: To sponsor both my father and mother immigration to United States, do I need to file two Form I-130, or just file one Form I-130?

A: When both parents are sponsored, two separate Form I-130 applications need to be completed. Since parents are considered a priority, or immediate relative, Form I-130 allows parents to reach the front of the line. This means that parents would not have to wait to immigrate to the U.S. 

People should properly fill out the Form I-130, also called Petition for Alien Relative Application. This application form is the first step in the Green Card process, because it establishes the child-parent relationship.

Q: My mother is in U.S., can I fill Form I-130 and Form I-485 concurrently? Do I need to submit Form I-864 - Affidavit of Support?

A: The Application to Register Permanent Residence of Adjust Status, or Form I-485, can be filled out concurrently at the same time with Form I-130. However, Form I-485 can also be filed after the I-130 petition approval. You should submit the Form I-864 that would help to support your claim that you can financially support your parents.

Q: My wife and I are aliens working in the U.S. My 5 year old son was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen. Can he file an immigration petition for us now? 

A. No, he cannot file immigration petition for you based on your parent-child relationship until he reaches the age of 21, and he also needs to have financial ability to support you at that time.

Q: I will become a U.S. citizen in one year. What is the earliest time that I can file for my parents to get their Green Cards? 

A: As soon as you take the U.S. citizenship oath. You cannot file for them before your U.S. citizenship.

Q: As a Green Card holder from Special Immigrant Juvenile Status program, can I petition to bring my parents and siblings to the United States? I am 23 years old. Must I first get U.S. citizenship before I petition for my family? 

A You cannot petition for your parents or siblings until you become U.S. citizen. A permanent resident can petition only for a spouse and/or unmarried children. 

The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is available to children who are being supervised by a court, or who have been committed to the custody of a state agency. The children must have been found eligible for long-term foster care. Nothing in the SIJS law prevents a U.S. citizen who got permanent residence under the SIJS rules from petitioning for parents or siblings later.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen. I want to petition for my parents and my brother. I know I must file separately for my brother, and that he will have to wait abroad for many years. However, he is mentally disabled and totally dependent on my parents. They cannot leave him behind. Does the law provide for any way for my brother to come here when my parents get their immigrant visas?

A: In rare and especially deserving cases, the USCIS will allow someone not immediately eligible for a visa to come to United States under a status called "humanitarian parole." When your parents get called for their immigrant visa interviews, that they speak to a U.S. consular officer about the matter. If the officer would not help, they can apply for your brother directly to the USCIS

Your parents should include a detailed letter explaining your brother's situation, with evidence from a doctor about his condition. They should also document that they have the resources to care for him. Humanitarian parole allows someone outside the United States to enter without a visa. It is available only in very unusual circumstances, where a particularly deserving person either doesn't qualify for a visa or doesn't have time to get one.

Though the USCIS discourages use of humanitarian parole to bypass normal visa processing procedures, in very rare cases the agency grants parole to individuals who cannot care for themselves when their parents immigrate.

Q: I have a temporary Green Card now through marriage with a U.S. citizen, and will submit I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence) next month. My parents are willing to come over as soon as possible. Do I actually need to wait to get the U.S. citizenship to apply for them? 

A: you cant petition your parents after you become a U.S. citizen. Waiting for your U.S. citizenship is the fastest and only way you can petition your parents. 

Q: How to check the status of a Green Card application for my parents? 

A: You may check the status of your application or case online, by phone, or by contacting an appropriate USCIS office. You may also want to review U.S. Visa Wait Times and USCIS Immigration Processing Times. For assistance outside of the U.S., contact the nearest U.S. Consulate. For assistance within the U.S., contact your nearest USCIS District Office or Sub Office, or call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283 

If the visa petition you filed for a Green Card for your parents is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal. Generally, you may appeal within 33 days of receiving the denial by mail. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C. 

Q: I want to file a Green Card application for my parents. How could your package of "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's Parent" help me?

A: To help you filing U.S. Green Card petition for your parent, we provide the high quality and case-proven "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's Parent", based on our extensive and practical immigration experience.

In this "Complete Do-It-Yourself Package of Green Card Application for U.S. Citizen's Parent", we provide you the methods of how to prepare the petition, how to collect evidence, how to show your relationship, how to prove your qualification, and how to write the petition cover letter. We also provide step-by-step procedures for the petition, various petition strategies, sample cover letter, samples of filled forms, complete petition check list, petition required forms, detailed explanations of many petition related important issues, and more. With this package, you get all the information you need and the step-by-step knowledge and procedures of how to file an immigrant petition and obtain U.S. Green Card quickly for your father or mother.

Q: My Form I-130 Application for my relative's immigration has been approved by USCIS recently. Now she received notice from U.S. National Visa Center (NVC) to file Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. Please help us know more information about how to fill the electronic immigrant visa application form DS-260? 

A: The Form DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application (also called "Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application") replaces the paper-based DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (parts I and II); while the Form DS-261 Choice of Address and Agent will replace the DS-3032 Choice of Address and Agent.

The Department of State (DOS) has implemented use of the DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, and the DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent. These two forms are used for immigrant visa applicants processing at all U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. The online forms are submitted to DOS through the Consular Electronic Applications Center (CEAC) website at https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/. In order to access the online forms, the applicant must input his or her NVC case number and invoice I.D. number.

All of the information entered online is accessible by the National Visa Center (NVC) and the consular posts, the applicant is not required to submit a paper version to the NVC or bring a copy to the visa interview.

    *  Most fields on the DS-260 must be completed before the application can be submitted to DOS. The system will not allow you to continue without providing the required information unless the field is specifically marked "Optional."

    * If a mandatory field is left blank, an error message will appear and the applicant must complete the required field before proceeding with the form. A partially completed application can be saved by clicking on the "Save" button at the bottom of each page.

    * It is recommended that data be saved often to ensure information is not lost. A saved application can be accessed by returning to the website and selecting View/Edit from the Alien Registration section of the Immigrant Visa.

    * The applicant can continue completing the form by clicking on the "Edit" button on the right side of the application's listed status. Once all of the fields are completed, the applicant submits the form by clicking on the "Sign and Submit Application" button.

    * Should the applicant need to make any changes to the form after submission, he or she will have to contact the NVC to request access to the form. If a case has already been sent by NVC to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate interview, any changes to the form will have to be made at the post.

Q: To file Form I-130 for relative outside U.S., what kind of fees can be expected?

A: Immigration application related fees are charged for different services, such as fees for Department of State government services, fees for Visa Services, and fees for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Filing an immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130, this fee is charged by USCIS;
  • Processing an immigrant visa application, Form DS-260;
  • Medical examination and required vaccinations - costs vary.
  • Other costs may include: translations; photocopying charges; fees for obtaining the documents you need for the immigrant visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.); and travel expenses to go to the embassy or consulate for the interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
Also, Form I-864 is required for most family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants to show that they have adequate means of financial support and are not likely to rely on the U.S. government for financial support. There is no fee when filed with USCIS or abroad with the Department of State (DOS). DOS does charge a fee when this form is filed in the U.S. 

Q: For USCIS Form I-864 Affidavit of Support, what are the differences between sponsor, joint sponsor, and substitute sponsor?

A: An affidavit of support is a document an individual signs to accept financial responsibility for another person, usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. The person who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor of the relative coming to live in U.S.  The sponsor is usually the petitioner of an immigrant petition for a family member. An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor's responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work - usually 10 years.

A joint sponsor is someone who is willing to accept legal responsibility for supporting the family member with you. A joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as you, except the joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. The joint sponsor, or the joint sponsor and his or her household, must reach the 125% income requirement alone. You cannot combine your income with that of a joint sponsor to meet the income requirement.

If the visa petitioner has died after approval of the visa petition but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decides to let the petition continue, a substitute sponsor must file a Form I-864 in place of the deceased visa petitioner.

Some other eligibility requirements apply to the substitute sponsor as well. He or she must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident of at least 18 years of age who has a domicile in the U.S. And the sponsor must be a relative of yours. In order to be a substitute sponsor, you must be related to the intending immigrant in one of the following ways: Spouse; Parent; Mother-in-law; Father-in-law; Sibling; Child (if at least 18 years of age); Son; Daughter; Son-in-law; Daughter-in-law; Sister-in-law; Brother-in-law; Grandparent; Grandchild; Legal guardian of the beneficiary.

Serving as a substitute sponsor is a primarily financial relationship, and it involves filling out an Affidavit of Support on USCIS Form I-864. The Affidavit must indicate that the new sponsor is able to support the immigrants and his/her own household, at a level that is at or above 125% of the federal Poverty Guidelines. In fact, by filing Form I-864, the substitute sponsor promises the U.S. government to pay back any need-based public assistance that the named immigrants receive for approximately the first ten years of their having a green card.

Q: I am U.S. citizen, but still currently a college student. I want to apply for Green Card for my mother, do I need certain income to file the immigration application for her?

A: If you are a U.S. citizen, you can apply for U.S. green cards or U.S. lawful permanent residence for your parents, if you are at least 21 years old. U.S. citizen's parents are considered to be "immediate relatives" under the immigration laws, which means that there is no limit on the immigrant number in this category every year, and therefore no waiting time in the application process and immigrant visa number.

One important consideration is that the U.S. citizen should show sufficient income or assets to sponsor your parents at 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines. This requirement is to make sure the parents are not likely "public charges," or people likely to receive need-based government assistance.

Also, it is important to realize that your parents can be denied the Green Cards, if they are inadmissible on other grounds, such as having a record of criminal convictions or immigration violations, or carrying a disease that presents a public health risk, or having a dangerous physical or mental disorder.

Q: As U.S. citizen myself, my parents entered the U.S. as tourists. Can they adjust status here to get their Green Card?

A: If your parents are in the United States after a legal entry with a valid visa, as U.S. citizen's immediate relatives, it is possible for your parents to apply for a U.S. Green Card without leaving the United States.

However, if your parents entered United States without inspection, such as by smuggling across the border, your parents cannot apply for a U.S. Green Card without leaving the United States, and it can be a problem for their immigration at all, since living in the U.S. unlawfully for longer than 6 months may create a long-term bar to U.S. admissibility.

The process to get a Green Card in Unites States is called "adjustment of status." U.S. citizen's parents would not have to wait for the Form I-130 to be approved, but they could submit it concurrently with the Form I-485 application for adjusting status. If you have already obtained Form I-130 approval, your parents can simply submit the approval notice, also called Form I-797, along with the Form I-485 adjustment of status.

Q: My mother has U.S. Green Card, and she wants to live in her home country for a longer time. What will happen for her Green Card if she wants to live there for more than one year?

A: Many people want to apply for U.S. Green Card for their parents, and hope it will facilitate easy travel and long visits for their parents. But their hope does not fit with U.S. immigration laws, which require that the Green Card holders should make their permanent home in U.S., not in their home country. Also, there is no minimum amount of time that a parent can live in the United States to avoid the problem of "abandonment of residence" of United States.

If a parent with Green Card leaves the United States, even for a short time, and upon return the border U.S. officials can be convinced that the parent's real home is outside the United States. So, the official can deny the parent's entry into U.S., and revoke the Green Card. Also, trips outside the U.S. of 5 months or longer are guaranteed to raise series questions, and trips of a year or more can raise a presumption that the parent has abandoned their residence of United States.

Q: When I arrived U.S. las month, I did not complete the paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94. Do I really need the form as an admission process record?

A: Foreign visitors to the U.S. arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record. Those who need to prove their legal visitor status to employers, schools/universities or government agencies can access their CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) arrival/departure record information online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.

CBP now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

If travelers need the information from their Form I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number and other admission information they are encouraged to get their I-94 Number.

Upon arrival, a CBP officer stamps the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant traveler with the admission date, the class of admission, and the date that the traveler is admitted until. If a traveler would like a paper Form I-94, one can be requested during the inspection process. All requests will be accommodated in a secondary setting.

Upon exiting the U.S., travelers previously issued a paper Form I-94 should surrender it to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. Otherwise, CBP will record the departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.

An I-94 form is needed by all persons except U.S. Citizens, returning resident aliens, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit. Air and Sea travelers will be issued I-94s during the admission process at the port of entry. A traveler lawfully admitted (or paroled) into the U.S. may print their lawful record of admission (I-94 form) from this CBP website. If someone requests your admission information, this is the form you would provide.

Q: My parents are currently in U.S. to visit us. What is the application process for me to sporsor my parents to get their Green Cards?

A: The process of getting a green card for parents depends on whether they will be adjusting status or going through consular processing. For adjustment of status inside United States, it basically involves submitting a Form I-130 visa petition, prepared by the child petitioner as the the sponsor, along with the parents' own application on Form I-485, with supporting forms and documents to USCIS.

One of the important supporting forms is one that the child will also need to submit, known as Form I-864, the affidavit of support promising that the child will reimburse any government agency from which the parents receive need-based assistance. These materials are submitted all at once by mail to USCIS, after which the parents will be called in for fingerprinting, and finally an interview.

Q: I plan to sponsor my relatives for Green Card applicatin. What are the processing time and steps during the process?

A: If you are planning on acting as a green card sponsor for a family member, various factors can stretch the process into months, depending on how long it takes you to gather documents and prepare the appropriate paperwork; who you plan to sponsor; whether there is a limit on immigrant visa numbers given out in that category; and how backlogged the various USCIS offices that you will deal with are at the time.

First, you will need to fill out USCIS Form I-130, and attach your U.S. citizenship or Green Card evidence, as well as proof of your relationship to your family member. USCIS' process for the petition can take several months. Usually later, you will need to prepare an Affidavit of Support on Form I-864, together with documents proving that you are able and willing to support the immigrant at an amount that is at least 125% of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

In addition, your family member will need to prepare various documents as his or her own application for a green card. The exact forms and process depend on whether your relative will be adjusting status in the U.S. or going through consular processing from another country. Your relative will also need to undergo a medical exam, and get the doctor's report to submit with the green card application. At every step of the way, you will be dealing with a government agency that is backlogged with other applicants. The typical processing steps you may encounter include:
  • waiting a receipt notice after submitting Form I-130;
  • if your relative will be coming from abroad and going to consular processing, awaiting transfer of the case to a U.S. consulate and correspondence from the National Visa Center;
  • if your relative is in the U.S. and will be adjusting status inside U.S, awaiting a receipt notice and then a fingerprinting appointment waiting for the FBI to process your relative's fingerprints;
  • waiting an interview with the U.S. consulate or USCIS office.
Q: The Form I-130 application for my family members have been approved by USCIS. What is the next step for my family members to get an immigrant visa to enter United States.

A: After your form I-130 is approved by USCIS, the form U.S. Department of States form DS-260 is used to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa. The form DS-260 is an online Immigrant Visa Application and Registration form used to collect the needed application information from persons seeking U.S. immigrant visas. This form is completed and submitted online to the Department of State via the Internet through the Consular Electronic Applications Center (CEAC).

You can access the DS-260 from the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, by going to Immigrant Visas.state.gov and clicking on “Submit Visa Application and Civil Documents,” or on the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply.

After you pay your fees, you and each qualified family member immigrating with you must complete the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (Form DS-260) in the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC). You may wish to preview a sample  DS-260 before beginning.

    * Submitting Form DS-260 does not formally execute a visa application.  The visa application is not formally made until the visa applicant is interviewed by a U.S. consular officer.

    * You will need your NVC Case Number, Beneficiary ID Number, and Invoice ID Number from your NVC Welcome Letter, to access CEAC.

    * After submitting Form DS-260 online, you must print the confirmation page and bring it to your interview. You can print this from CEAC any time after you complete your DS-260 application.

It is important to distinguish the mandatory use of the DS-260 for processing at all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide from the "Electronic Processing Program" used for electronic submission of documents and the I-864 Affidavit of Support for processing at select embassies and consulates. Under this program, the I-864 is downloaded, completed, signed, scanned, saved as a PDF file and e-mailed to the NVC.

Also, the required civil documents and supporting documents must be converted to PDF files and then e-mailed to the NVC. For these select consular posts it is not required to mail the I-864, civil documents, and other supporting documents to the NVC, but the applicant must be prepared to present the original physical documents at the time of the visa interview. For all other posts, the I-864 and documentation are still mailed to the NVC.

For additional information on the DS-260, DS-261 and Electronic Processing Program, you should go to travel.state.gov and read the FAQs on DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application and the instruction pages on Required Electronic Processing and Optional Electronic Processing.



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