Can a US Citizen Son or Daughter Apply for a Green Card for Parents Who are Out of Status?

green card sample As a Florida immigration lawyer, I am often asked how a US citizen son or daughter can petition for their alien parents to obtain permanent resident status (green card). The US citizen must be at least 21 years old to petition for parents.

 The definition of “Child” for purposes of applying for green card:

 A “child” is defined in 8 U.S.C. section 1101(b)(1) as who is:

 • Born in wedlock; or

• A step-child, if the step relationship was formed when the child was under 18; or

• Adopted when the child was under 16 years old and already having 2 years legal custody and residence with the adopting parents; or

• Legally legitimated before 18 years old if the child is in custody of father at the time of legitimation; or

• A child born out-of-wedlock where relationship is either with the child’s mother, or with the father in which case is a bona fide parent-child relationship.

Benefits of applying for green card for parents of a US Citizen:

• As an immediate relative of a US citizen, the application is not subject to numerical limit, i.e., there is no waiting time due to visa backlog.

• If an alien parent of a US citizen has overstayed his or her authorized stay in the United States and is now out of status, the alien parent may still adjust status to permanent residence and the overstay is forgiven under 8 CFR 245.1(b).

How does the US citizen apply for the green card for their parents?

The US citizen should file a petition for his or her alien parents using the Form I-130 with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the alien parent is in the United States, the parent can file for adjustment of status along with the Form I-130.


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