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How to Bring My Parents to the United States

Bridge Team Member

The Application Process

There are two main steps you must follow before bringing your parents to live in the U.S. First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition that you file for your parent. A petition is simply the visa form that must be completed to start the process. Second, if your parent is outside the United States, your parent will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If your parent lives legally inside the U.S., he or she may apply to adjust his or her status to that of a lawful permanent resident using the Form I-485. A status change can be made if the following basic requirements are met:

  • Applicant must be physically present in the United states
  • Applicant's immigration petition must have been approved
  • Applicant must not have entered the U.S illegally
  • No change in circumstances (marriage, death of sponsor, employment if sponsored)

Unfortunately, if you are a lawful permanent resident, you are not eligible to petition to bring your parents to live and work permanently in the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old, you are eligible to petition to bring your parents to live and work permanently in the United States.

Example SituationApplying for your father to live in the United States

Be prepared to complete the following requirements during your process:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (if you are filing for both parents, you must file a separate petition for each parent)
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and the names of both your parents
  • If your name or your father's name is different from the name on your birth certificate, you must provide evidence of the legal name change.
  • If you were not born in the United States, a copy of either:
  •    Your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or
  •    Your U.S. passport
  •    A copy of your parents' civil marriage certificate
  •    A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that would show that any previous marriage entered into by your mother or father was ended legally

To have a successful result, an immigrant visa must be available based on the date the immigrant visa application was filed. (Note: Parents are considered immediate relatives and visas in this category are immediately available.)

If your parent is outside the U.S. when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number (if required) becomes available, the spouse will be notified by the Department of State's National Visa Center to complete the processing for an immigrant visa. If the spouse is legally inside the U.S. when the visa petition is approved and when an immigrant visa number (if required) becomes available, he or she may apply for an adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident with the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center.

Keep in mind that if you have been legally adopted you may not petition for your birth parent to enter and live in the United States. This example also excludes your stepparent or adoptive parent.

Done Filing? Here's What to Expect

If your parent is currently in the United States, they may be eligible to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, at the same time as you file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

You will be notified by the USCIS if your I-130 petition is approved or denied. If it is approved and your parent is outside the U.S., your parent will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete his or her visa processing. If your parent is legally inside the U.S. and did not file the Form I-485 Application concurrently with your petition, he or she may file at this time.

How to Appeal?

If the visa petition you filed for your parent is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal and when you must file the appeal. After your appeal form and a required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Bringing your parents to live in the United States can be a journey. Hopefully this post gave you some insight to the process!

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