April 28, 2022

Can you help your aging parent enter the United States?

Your focus as you develop your career was probably your own ambition and long-term goals. Professionals may have to make financial investments in their education, take unpaid internships or even leave their country of origin to establish careers.

Your plans may have led you to enter the United States. Whether for education, investment, marriage or employment, you had opportunities in the United States that secured you a visa. Now that you have lived in the U.S. for several years, you have started to think about your loved ones back home.

Maybe you worry about your parents who still live in another country and have to deal with the struggles of aging without your support. Rather than calling them weekly, you may feel like living together or at least near each other could be safer for them as they age. Can you help them move to the United States?

Citizens can get green cards for their parents

Once an immigrant becomes a naturalized citizen, they can apply for a green card for their foreign national parents. You have to be a citizen and at least 21 years of age to qualify to help your parents enter the country.

Even then, certain documentation is necessary to help a parent get a green card. They need to be on your birth certificate or to have other key documentation affirming their parental relationship with you. Provided that you have the right records and that they can pass the necessary background check, they can join you in the United States. Once your parents have green cards, they can stay for the rest of their lives.

What if you are not yet a citizen?

If you are a permanent resident or someone who has renewed a visa multiple times, it may be time to think about naturalization. Neither a visa nor a green card gives you the option of helping your parenting immigrate. You will need to naturalize and become a citizen to help them.

Although some people let the process intimidate them, it is straightforward for those who prepare and have the right support. Once you become a naturalized citizen, there will be more immigration opportunities for your extended family. Learning more about naturalization and family-based immigration can help you make the most of your legal status in the United States.