Immigrating to the U.S. often means leaving loved ones behind, including your parents. But obtaining a green card will allow them to join you and enjoy many of the same rights of U.S. citizens. Green card holders are permitted to reside and work permanently within the country. They also retain the right to re-enter if they travel to other parts of the world, and they can apply for citizenship after five years.
If your parents are not in a position to apply for permanent residency themselves, you can apply on their behalf. Critical steps in getting a green card for your parents are as follows.
Gather the Required Forms
You will need to show several pieces of documentation proving your relationship to the applicant. An application for either parent requires your birth certificate with the parent’s name and a copy of your immigration documentation (if applicable). For your father, you will also need to provide a marriage certificate with both parents’ names. Step- or adoptive parents will require further proof of relationship.
Complete the Formal Process: Green Card Request and Interview
Next, you’ll need to fill out an official request for immigration. If your parent already resides in the U.S. on a visa, you can do this together.
You parent must also undergo an interview with immigration officials. If they are still outside the country, you can schedule an interview at their nearest U.S. consulate. Officials will issue a decision based on the interview and other relevant factors.
Prove Financial and Medical Fitness
In addition to the green card process itself, you will need to complete an affidavit showing that you can and will take financial responsibility for your parent. He or she will also need to undergo a medical exam and send official results to the USCIS.
Optional Steps for a Smoother Transition
If your parent is in the U.S. on a visa or still waiting on a green card, you can take additional steps to reduce potential complications. These steps include applying for work and travel authorizations. While you complete these applications, you can monitor the status of the green card itself online.
Ensure That You Can Pay Associated Fees
You will need to pay an application fee, a green card fee if approved, and costs for any necessary medical evaluations. The average cost of the entire process is $1,760. Check specific fees ahead of time to make sure that you will not get caught up for lack of payment.
The time it takes to obtain a green card varies by individual case and current immigration load. Following the steps above will ensure that your parent receives permanent residency as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If your parent is approved outside the U.S., they will receive a temporary green card that they can use to enter the country for the first time. Their permanent card will be sent to their U.S. mailing address.