US Citizenship Petition for Parents2024-01-11T11:36:06+00:00

US Citizenship Petition for Parents: A Step-by-Step Guide

United States citizens at least 21 years old can petition for their parents to obtain permanent residency, commonly recognized as obtaining a Green Card. The process is initiated by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is the primary step to establish the familial relationship between the petitioner and the parent(s).

Permanent residents, or Green Card holders, are similarly not permitted to sponsor their parents for permanent residency. The distinction between citizens and permanent residents in the ability to petition for parental immigration underscores the unique rights that come with U.S. citizenship.

After submitting and approving Form I-130, the parents may proceed to the next phase, which involves applying for an immigrant visa or adjusting their status if they are already in the United States under a different legal category.

Eligibility Requirements

To successfully petition for one’s parents to become permanent residents of the United States, petitioners must fulfill specific eligibility requirements. These include age and residence statuses, financial ability to support, and proof of a legitimate parent-child relationship.

Age and Residence Criteria


  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be at least 21 years old


  • The petitioner must reside in the United States.

Financial Responsibility

Income Requirement:

  • The petitioner must demonstrate the financial capacity to support their parent(s) at 125% above the Federal Poverty Line.


  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, is required to prove financial responsibility.

Parent-Child Relationship Verification


  • Birth certificate showing the names of the petitioner and the parents.
  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, must be filed to establish the relationship legally.


  • Secondary evidence, such as church or school records, may be considered when traditional documentation is unavailable.

Application Process

To successfully petition for one’s parents to become permanent residents in the United States, an applicant must follow a systematic process involving submitting specific forms, providing necessary supporting documents, and paying designated fees.

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

The initial step in petitioning for one’s parents is to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form formally recognizes the relationship between the U.S. citizen and their parents.

  • Form Type: Form I-130
  • Filing By: U.S. Citizen
  • Relationship: Parent (Mother or Father)
  • Key Requirement: Petitioner must be at least 21 years old

Supporting Documents

To accompany Form I-130, the petitioner must provide evidence to substantiate the familial relationship.

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (e.g., birth certificate, passport)
  • Evidence of relationship to the parent (e.g., the petitioner’s birth certificate)
  • Two passport-style photos of both petitioner and parent

Submission and Fees

Once Form I-130 is completed and the supporting documents are compiled, the petitioner must submit them and the required fees to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  • Submission Method: Mail to USCIS lockbox
  • Fee (as of 2023): Check the current USCIS fee schedule
  • Proof of Payment: Keep a copy of the fee payment for records

After Submission

Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives the petition for a U.S. citizen to sponsor their parents, several steps follow to ensure proper processing and verification.

Notice of Action

After submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, USCIS will send a Notice of Action (Form I-797) to acknowledge receipt. The first notice confirms that USCIS has received the petition, and a subsequent Notice of Action may indicate approval or a need for additional evidence.

Biometrics Appointment

The parents will receive an appointment notice for biometrics, where they will provide fingerprints, photos, and a signature. This data is used for background checks and identity verification.

  • Location: Often held at a local Application Support Center (ASC).
  • Required Items: They must bring the appointment notice and a valid government-issued photo ID.

Interview and Evidence

USCIS may require an interview with the parents to validate the petition and relationship further. Parents should be prepared to:

  • Attend the Scheduled Interview: The location and time will be provided by USCIS.
  • Present Original Documents: They should bring all originally submitted evidence, plus any additional documents requested by USCIS.

Legal Considerations

When petitioning for parents’ U.S. citizenship, it is crucial to understand the legal framework and adhere to the stringent requirements set forth by immigration laws.

Impact of Immigration Laws

U.S. citizens at least 21 can petition for their parents to become lawful permanent residents, commonly known as green card holders, under the Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa category. This classification allows for an unlimited number of visas each fiscal year, meaning there are no numerical limits that typically cause delays in other family-based categories. Petitioners must also demonstrate the ability to financially support their parents at a level exceeding 125% of the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

Potential Challenges and Denial Reasons

Petitions for parents’ citizenship can face setbacks for various reasons. Some common grounds for denial include:

  • Inadequate Documentation: Failure to provide all required documents or submitting incomplete/incorrect forms.
  • Financial Insufficiency: Inability to meet the Affidavit of Support requirements to prove financial stability.
  • Health and Background Checks: Discovery of health-related issues or criminal history during the mandatory medical examination and background checks.
  • Immigration Violations: Prior immigration law violations by the parents can result in inadmissibility.

Understanding these potential challenges is essential for a smooth application process and the successful acquisition of a green card for one’s parents. If your age is less than 21 you must consider to check can an 18-year-old U.S. citizen petition his parents.

Adjustment of Status

Adjustment of status in the context of US citizenship petitions for parents allows eligible individuals to apply for lawful permanent resident status without leaving the United States.

Residing in the U.S.

When a parent is already in the United States and has entered legally, they may be eligible for adjustment of status. This process is available to those who are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, typically a child over 21. Applicants must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The key requirements include proof of the familial relationship and evidence of the parent’s lawful entry into the United States.

Consular Processing Abroad

Consular processing is the alternative path if the parent is outside the United States. This involves the U.S. citizen child filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and upon approval, the parent will complete the visa process at a U.S. consulate in their home country. Upon entering the U.S. with an immigrant visa, the parent will become a lawful permanent resident. While applying for an I-130 petition, the applicant must adhere to the I-130 supporting documents for parents.

Obtaining Citizenship

U.S. citizens have avenues to help family members, particularly parents, attain citizenship. This process generally involves either sponsorship for naturalization or citizenship through derivation.

Naturalization Process for Parents

In naturalization, U.S. citizens at least 21 years old can sponsor their parents for citizenship. This sponsorship starts with submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for each parent. Once approved, and if the parents are overseas, the file is forwarded to a U.S. consulate in the parents’ home country. Parents residing in the U.S. may adjust their status to permanent residents and eventually apply for naturalization.

The steps for parents to become naturalized are as follows:

  1. Establish residency as a Green Card holder.
  2. Maintain a physical presence in the United States for at least five years (or three years if married to a U.S. citizen).
  3. Demonstrate good moral character.
  4. Pass the English language and U.S. civics tests.

Citizenship through Derivation

Children may derive citizenship from their U.S. citizen parents at birth or after birth but before age 18. The process involves:

  • For children born abroad: The U.S. citizen parent must report the birth to the U.S. embassy or consulate. They will then issue a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), which serves similarly to a birth certificate and establishes citizenship.
  • For children residing in the U.S.: If they are lawful permanent residents, their citizenship status is automatically updated upon the naturalization of the parent(s), as long as the child is under 18.

Common Questions

Who can petition for their parents to live in the U.S.?2024-01-05T10:29:21+00:00

U.S. citizens at least 21 can petition their parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as Green Card holders.

Can Green Card holders petition for their parents?2024-01-05T10:29:45+00:00

No, only U.S. citizens can petition for their parents to live permanently in the U.S. Green Card holders (permanent residents) cannot sponsor their parents.

What form is used to petition parents?2024-01-05T10:30:11+00:00

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is utilized by U.S. citizens to sponsor their non-U.S. citizen parents for a Green Card.

What are the main criteria for sponsoring parents?2024-01-05T10:30:43+00:00
  • The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen.
  • The petitioner must be at least 21 years old.
Can you sponsor both parents?2024-01-05T10:31:06+00:00

Yes, a U.S. citizen can sponsor both parents, but separate petitions must be filed for each parent.

What is the general process after petitioning?2024-01-05T10:31:28+00:00

Once the petition is approved, the parent(s) go through consular processing or adjustment of status, if they are already in the U.S., to become Green Card holders.

Are there any military considerations?2024-01-05T10:31:55+00:00

Yes, members of the U.S. Military have certain provisions and processes available to them when petitioning for immediate relatives, including parents.

Please note that processes and policies can change. For the most accurate and updated information, consult the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or a legal expert.

Additional Resources

For individuals seeking to file a U.S. citizenship petition for their parents, several resources are available to provide guidance:

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
    The primary resource for information and forms is the USCIS website. It offers step-by-step instructions and detailed guidance on various immigration processes.

    • Forms: Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
    • Information: Family of U.S. Citizens section
  • Legal Advice and Assistance
    Consulting an immigration attorney can be valuable. Attorneys can assist with the application process, answer legal questions, and help navigate challenges that may arise.

    • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA): Find a lawyer service
  • Non-Profit Organizations
    Various non-profits provide resources for immigrants, including:

    • Legal aid
    • Education on rights
    • Application process assistance
  • Online Forums and Support Groups
    Communities exist where individuals can share experiences and advice related to the citizenship petition process. It’s important to verify the accuracy of advice with official sources or legal counsel.
  • U.S. Government Publications
    The government publishes guides and pamphlets, which are comprehensive and authoritative sources of information.

Always refer to the official USCIS website or consult a qualified immigration attorney for the most accurate and updated information regarding the petitioning process.

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