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Bringing Parents to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents

Eligibility

To petition for your parents (mother or father) to live in the United States as green card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. Green card holders (permanent residents) may not petition to bring parents to live permanently in the United States.

The table below describes what steps you must take to petition depending upon your circumstances:

If you are a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old, and your…Then you must submit...
mother lives outside the United States,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your mother’s name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States
father lives outside the United States,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and the names of both parents
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States
  • A copy of your parents’ civil marriage certificate
father lives outside the United States and you were born out of wedlock and were not legitimated by your father before your 18th birthday,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your father's name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States 
  • Evidence that an emotional or financial bond existed between you and your father before you were married or reached the age of 21, whichever came first
father lives outside the United States and you were born out of wedlock and were legitimated  by your father before your 18th birthday,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing your name and your father's name
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or U.S. passport if you were not born in the United States 
  • Evidence that you were legitimated before your 18th birthday through the marriage of your natural parents, the laws of your state or country (of birth or residence), or the laws of your father’s state or country (of birth or residence)
petition is filed to bring your step-parent to live in the United States,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate showing the names of your birth parents
  • A copy of the civil marriage certificate of your birth parent to your step-parent showing that the marriage occurred before your 18th birthday
  • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees to show that any previous marriage entered into by your natural or step-parent ended legally
petition is filed to bring your adoptive parent to live in the United States,
  • Form I-130
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • A copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship if you were not born in the United States
  • A certified copy of the adoption certificate showing that the adoption took place before your 16th birthday
  • A statement showing the dates and places you have lived together with your parent

Note: If your name or your parent’s name has changed, please include proof of the legal name change (may include marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, court judgment of name change, etc.)

After Filing Your Petition

You will be notified by USCIS if your Form I-130 petition is approved or denied. If it is approved and your parent is outside the United States, he or she will be notified to go to the local U.S. consulate to complete visa processing. 

If your parent is currently in the United States, he or she may be eligible to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, at the same time as you file Form I-130. For additional information on how to file this application, see the “How Do I Customer Guides”. 

Employment Authorization (Work Permit)

Your parents do not need to apply for employment authorization (work permit) once they are admitted as an immigrant with their immigrant visa. If your parents are now outside the United States, they will receive a passport stamp upon arrival in the United States. This stamp will prove that they are allowed to work in the United States until their Permanent Resident Card is received. 

If your parents are in the United States and have applied to adjust to permanent resident status by filing Form I-485, they are eligible to apply for employment and travel authorization while their case is pending. Your parents should use Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, to apply for travel authorization. The fee for Form I-485 also covers Form I-765 and Form I-131 until a decision is made on the application to adjust status.

Note: If your parents have minor children abroad, those children (your siblings) cannot be sponsored on the same petition. See the “Bringing Siblings to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents” page for more information. After your parent becomes a permanent resident, he or she may file a new petition for any qualifying relative - see the “Family of Green Card Holders (Permanent Residents)” page for more on that. 

My Petition was Denied: Can I Appeal?

If the visa petition you filed is denied, the denial letter will tell you how to appeal and how much time you have to file the appeal. After your appeal form and the required fee are processed, the appeal will be referred to the Board of Immigration Appeals. For more information, see the “How Do I Customer Guides” section of the website.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/04/2011