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Green Card for Parents

elizabethtown ky immigration law firm

Family-based Immigration Attorney in Paducah, Kentucky

Do you want your parents to become a permanent resident of the United States? The legal process for immigration laws could be lengthy and complex. When deciding on your immigration status, consult with an experienced and trustworthy attorney.

From filing the proper documentation with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) to assuring successful completion of the petition, a Paducah family-based immigration lawyer will give you the support you need.

Citizenship and Immigration Law Firm has years of legal experience and provides comprehensive legal counsel to many clients in Paducah, Kentucky.

Why do I need a Family-based Immigration Attorney in Kentucky?

Family-based immigration allows relatives to reunite once more. But this immigration petition can be time-consuming and is a complex process in the United States. Your journey can take months or even years to complete. Working with a skilled family-based immigration attorney and parent immigration lawyers in Paducah, Kentucky, can help you reach your immigration objectives.

Consulting with a reputable Kentucky immigration legal firm will help save your time and budget while avoiding immigration delays. Get the best legal assistance from one of our Kentucky family immigration attorneys now.

green card for parents

What is a Family-based Immigration Visa?

One of the most common ways for people to obtain green cards and become naturalized U.S. citizens is through a family-based immigration visa. Citizens and permanent residents can file an immigrant visa petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to bring their family members into the country. Like any other immigrant visa, the family-based green card has various types determined by the relationship between the sponsor and the visa beneficiary. 

Types of Family-based Immigration Visa

Family-based green cards have two types: immediate relative and family preference.

The relationship between the visa petitioner and the beneficiary determines what procedures you would go through and the application processing time.

Immediate Relative Immigrant (IR) Visas

Close relatives of U.S. citizens are eligible for this visa. Plus, there is no annual limit on the number of visas granted for this category. Hence, visas are always easily accessible for applicants with only a 5 to 12-month processing time. The IR beneficiaries don’t have to wait in line for a visa number once USCIS grants the petitioner’s (US citizen) I-130 petition. 

Any U.S. citizen may file a visa petition under this category for their:  

  • Spouse (IR-1);
  • An unmarried child under the age of 21 (IR-2);
  • An child adopted abroad (IR-3);
  • An child adopted within the U.S. (IR-4);
  • A parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age (IR-5);

Family Preference Immigrant Visas

On the other hand, family preference immigrant visa is for selected family members of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Unlike the immediate relative category, these have a limit, and only a certain number can be awarded each year.

Visas are not automatically available for this group of people. After the I-130 has been approved, the applicants must wait for a visa number to become available. Depending on the number of visa backlogs in each category, the wait could last months or even years. It could take 5 to 10 years in some circumstances.

Petitioning a Green Card for Parents

Earlier, we have  discussed the difference between and IR visa and a family-preference visa. Under the IR visa, it was mentioned that one may petition for their parents to get a visa.

Who can petition for their parents?

However, there are certain requirements that you must meet to be able to accomplish this. These include being: 

  • A U.S. citizen – This means that you were either naturalized, born in any of the states of the country or were born outside the US and one of your parents is a citizen during your birth;
  • At least 21 years of age – You have to meet this age requirement before you can allow your parents to get the immigration benefit as your immediate relative. 

Which parent can be petitioned?

Aside from the requirements for you as the petitioner, there are also qualifications that your parents must meet to be eligible for this benefit. The following are categories of “parents” that can be considered for this petition: 

  • Your natural mother or father – This refers to your biological parent. 
  • Your stepmother or stepfather – This refers to another person (stepparent) that your biological father or mother married. This should have occurred before you turn 18 years of age. 
  • Your adoptive mother or father – This refers to the parent/s who adopted you. 

Getting a green card for parents

Step 1: Filing the visa petition on behalf of your parents

To establish your family relationship, you must submit Form I-130 or Petition for Alien Relative. The form is available online at the USCIS website and will ask for basic biographical information.  This form is filed on behalf of your parents. In addition, you will also have to provide proof of your status (i.e., citizenship) and the family relationship you have with the parent/s you are petitioning for. This documentary proof includes
  • Birth certificate; 
  • Marriage certificate of your parents; 
  • Proof of termination of prior marriages, if applicable; 
  • Court decree of your adoption; or
  • Any other proof of your relationship or statement showing the dates and places you had lived together, especially if you did not live with that parent/s before you turned 18 years old. 

Step 2: Mailing the petition

Once complete, you can mail the form to the USCIS Dallas or Phoenix lockbox or apply online on their website by creating an account. 

Step 3: Awaiting the results of your visa petition from USCIS

The petitioner is notified of the decision by USCIS. If USCIS declines your petition, you will receive a notification explaining why and whether you can appeal the decision. If your petition is granted and you live outside the United States (or if you live in the United States but want to apply for an immigrant visa in another country), USCIS will forward your petition to the Department of State’s National Visa Center. They will keep the petition there until you receive an immigrant visa number.The National Visa Center (NVC) collects fees and accompanying papers for visa applications. When the visa petition is submitted, the NVC will notify the petitioner and the beneficiary. They will also inform when an immigrant visa number becomes available. They’ll also inform you when you have to pay immigrant visa processing costs (often known as “fee bills”) and provide supporting documentation.

Step 4: Submission of green card application by your parents

This step will depend on where your parents are at the time of the application. They can either undergo an adjustment of status  if they are within the US; or go through consular processing if they are outside the country. A USCIS Immigrant Fee will be required. USCIS uses this amount to complete your immigrant visa application and create your Green Card. It is recommended that you pay the amount online.Afterward, for consular processing, the consular office will book you for an interview when a visa is available, or your priority date is current (earlier than the cut-off date mentioned in the monthly Visa Bulletin). The consular office will process your case, determining whether you are eligible for an immigrant visa.You should report any changes to the National Visa Center if:
  • You’ve changed your address.
  • You were under 21 but have now turned 21, or
  • Your marital status is changed.
NVC will approach you for the necessary information. Please remember that these changes may impact your eligibility or visa availability.

Difference between adjustment of status and consular processing

Adjustment of Status Eligibility (Immediate Relative)

If your parent currently resides in the United States, they must meet the following requirements to be eligible for a Green Card (as an immediate relative):

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is duly filed. This can either be filed at the same time as I-130 (“concurrently”), while it is pending or after the I-130 is approved. 
  • They were inspected and admitted or inspected and paroled into the U.S.
  • When they file Form I-485, they must be personally present in the U.S.
  • They are qualified for an immigration visa.
  • There is still a relationship between them and the family member who filed Form I-130 for them.
  • They are not subject to any of the applicable adjustment bars.
  • They are qualified for lawful permanent residence in the United States, a waiver of inadmissibility, or other kinds of relief.
  • They have earned the benefit of USCIS discretion.

When they file Form I-485 and USCIS issues a final verdict on the application, they will have instant access to an immigrant visa. (Note: A visa will always be available to immediate relatives.)

Consular Processing

When your parents are outside of the U.S., they may apply for an immigrant visa at a United States Department of State consulate overseas to enter the country and become permanent residents. Consular processing is the term given to this process.

The consular officer will offer your parent/s a packet of information if they are granted an immigrant visa. This packet is called a “Visa Packet” and should not be opened.

Give your Visa Packet to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry when you arrive in the United States. The CBP officer will examine you and decide whether or not you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. If the CBP officer grants you a lawful status, you will be permitted to live and work in the U.S.

Call our Family-based Immigration Lawyers Now!

Working with a Paducah family immigration attorney ensures the petition is filed correctly, lowering the chances of unnecessary delays or rejection. All of the relevant immigration documents will be handled by a competent family-based immigration attorney in Paducah, Kentucky.Our Parent Immigration Lawyers at Citizenship & Immigration Law Firm thoroughly understands the procedures and documentation required to file a petition to obtain a green card for parents successfully. We make every effort to prevent delays in providing clients with the best chance of gaining American citizenship for their family members.Our legal team is a great believer in the necessity of restoring and maintaining family togetherness. Begin by calling one of our Kentucky immigration attorneys today!

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