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How do I bring my parents to the U.S.?

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE

FAMILY-BASED RELATIVE PETITION



Mother and daughter for parent based relative petition, Miami, FL.

If you are a U.S. citizen and have a parent or parents who are citizens of a foreign country, filing for a Family Based Relative Petition (also known as IR-5 Visa) could allow your parents to lawfully work and live in the United States as permanent residents. After 5 years in the U.S., your parent(s) would be able to apply for U.S. citizenship. Throughout this blog, we will refer to parent and parents interchangeably because the law applies whether you are trying to sponsor one parent or both. The attorneys at the Jarbath Peña Law Group can help you understand all you need to know about applying for this visa.


Eligibility

As a sponsor of your parents and to be eligible to file for a Family Based Relative Petition, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and live in the United States with a U.S. address,

  • Be age 21 or older,

  • Have the financial means to support your parents until they start working, and

  • Be able to provide a birth certificate showing the relationship between you and your parents.

The tricky part of this visa is that it has to be granted in the foreign country where your parents reside. The U.S. consulate or embassy in that country will issue the visa. As we said, this can get a little complicated, so you should always hire a compassionate and knowledgeable immigration law attorney to handle the legal details.


Starting the Process

Person on a computer, immigration law, Jarbath Pena lawyers, Miami, FlL.

Establish Your Parental Relationship

The first step in the process for your parents to receive an IR-5 visa is to establish that a relationship exists between you and your parents. If you are the sponsor, you will need to file a Petition for an Alien Relative (Form I-130) to accomplish this. If your parents live abroad, the application will go through their local consulate or embassy. If they live in the U.S., then they will go through a process known as “adjustment of status.”


The next thing you will need to do is establish your parent’s eligibility for a green card. Once again, where your parents currently live will determine the process you will follow.


If Your Parent Lives Outside of the United States

After the sponsoring child files the Petition for Alien Relative, it is processed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). After the USCIS grants the petition, the parent will then need to submit an Immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-260) along with proof that they are the sponsor’s parent. The submitted Immigrant Visa Application and supporting documentation are passed on to the National Visa Center (NVC). Here, the application will be processed and reviewed. The NVC will then either request additional information from the parent or send the application to the country’s consulate or embassy where your parent resides.


If Your Parent Lives in the United States

The parents will need to go through the adjustment of status process if they live here. The parent MUST have entered the U.S. through a Visa Waiver Program or by using a valid visa. If the parent did not enter the U.S. lawfully, they may need a waiver to be allowed to go through the process. In other words, the parent must otherwise qualify to immigrate to the United States. For example, if the parent has a previous negative immigration history, it may affect the process.


Assuming the parent is eligible or can become eligible with a waiver, the sponsoring adult child will file a Petition for Alien Relative with USCIS. Once granted, the parent will then submit an Application for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) with USCIS. From there, USCIS will mail the parent a date, location, and time for a biometrics appointment where their eyes are scanned, and their fingerprints are taken.




The Green Card Interview

If your parents live outside the U.S., the final step in the process is for them to attend an interview. If your parents are living in the U.S., it is possible that they may be required to attend an interview in the U.S., even if they are just applying for an adjustment of status.


In the interview, your parents will be asked questions about their relationship with the sponsoring child. The purpose is to establish that there is a genuine relationship between the sponsor and the applicant, much like a marriage visa. If approved by the interviewer, the visa will be granted, and the parents can enter the United States. Once the parents arrive in the United States, USCIS mails their green card to their U.S. address.


Supporting Evidence

The supporting evidence you provide for the IR-5 visa depends on whether the sponsor’s birth was to married or unmarried parents and the type of parent (natural parent, stepparent, or adoptive parent). All of the following assumes that the parent lives outside of the United States at the time the visa is processed. In some instances, immigration may request additional evidence and may recommend a DNA test, photos, baptismal records, school records, etc.


Generally speaking, this is what immigration will request:


If you, as the sponsor, were born to a married couple and the mother is applying for the visa, you’ll need to provide:

  • A birth certificate copy showing both your name and your mother’s name; and

  • If you were born outside of the United States, you’ll need to provide a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport.

If you were born to a married couple and your father is applying for the visa, you’ll need to provide:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and both parents’ names;

  • If you were born outside of the United States, a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport; and

  • A copy of the parent’s marriage certificate.

If you, as the sponsor, were born to an unwed couple and not legally recognized (legitimated) by your father before your 18th birthday, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing both your name and your father’s name;

  • If you were born outside of the United States, a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport; and

  • Any evidence that a financial or emotional bond existed between you and your father before you reached the age of 21 or got married.

If you were born to an unwed couple but were legally recognized by your father before your 18th birthday, you’ll need to submit:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing both your name and your father’s name;

  • If you were born outside of the United States, a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport; and

  • Any evidence that the father legitimized you before your 18th birthday through the laws of the father’s birth country or state, the marriage of your natural parents, or the laws of your birth country or state.

If you have a stepparent you wish to bring into the United States:

  • A copy of your birth certificate showing both your name and your birth parents’ names;

  • If you were born outside of the United States, a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport;

  • A copy of the marriage certificate of your birth parent to the stepparent that shows the marriage occurred before your 18th birthday; and

  • Evidence to show that any previous marriage by your parents or stepparent ended legally. This last piece of evidence could consist of annulment decrees, divorce decrees, or death certificates.

If you have an adoptive parent you wish to bring into the United States, you’ll need to submit:

  • A copy of your birth certificate;

  • If you were born outside of the United States, a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport;

  • A certified copy of your adoption certificate which shows that you were adopted before your 16th birthday; and

  • A written statement providing the places and dates you have lived with your parents.

As you can see, it can be complicated to know precisely what you need to submit, and it is likely that you will have many questions along the way. We can help.


Let Us Navigate the Family (Parent) Relative Petition for You


If you are planning on getting an IR-5 approved for a parent, let us put together and file the paperwork for you. By hiring an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney at The Jarbath Peña Law Group, you can quickly get your applications submitted. This will help you avoid mistakes that can delay your application.


We speak English, Spanish, and Creole (hablamos Inglés , Español y Creole, Nou pale Angle, Panyòl ak Kreyòl). We are here to serve South Florida, so don’t delay. Come see us today! You can also call us at 305-615-1005 to set up a free initial consultation or contact us through our online contact form.

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