Can I bring my parents to USA permanently

A common question in our office is: Can I bring my parents to USA permanently? In this article we clearly explain how to petition for parents living abroad. 

Bringing parents to live in the United States is one of the biggest dreams of many Hispanic immigrants. At Lluis Law we can make it possible for you without making mistakes. 


We have more than 40 years of experience as immigration attorneys in Los Angeles. If you call now we will review your case without any obligation.

Can I bring my parents to USA permanently as residents?

Only an American citizen can petition for their parents so that they can live in the United States. Permanent residents, on the other hand, can only bring their spouses and unmarried children and those under 21 years of age.

At what age can an American citizen child petition his parents then? The legal minimum age required for an American citizen to petition their parents is 21 years old.

The family petition of children to parents is a fairly common procedure, within the immigration processes to the USA. However, great care must be taken to avoid errors and unnecessary delays in the process.

Requirements for a citizen child to petition his father or her mother

So what are the requirements so I can bring my parents to USA permanently as residents? For the petition of citizen children to bring their parents, immigration law establishes certain eligibility requirements. If the parents live outside the US, the citizen child must present:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Copy of the birth certificate that evidences the filial relationship where your name and the name of your parents appear. If he is a natural child, then only the mother’s name.
  • Copy of Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or US passport, if not born in the US
  • Copy of the parents’ civil marriage certificate.
bringing your parents to the usa

Children born out of wedlock not recognized by the father

If the petitioner was born out of wedlock. That is, he is the son of a single mother and was not recognized by the father before turning 18, he must present:    

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Copy of the birth certificate showing the name of the petitioner and the mother.
  • If you were not born in the US, present a copy of the certificate of naturalization, citizenship or American passport.
  • Evidence of the filiatory or economic link existing between the petitioner and his / her father / mother before marrying or reaching the age of 21.

Children born out of wedlock recognized by the father

If the parents live outside the United States and the petitioner was born out of wedlock and was recognized by the father before his 18th birthday, he must submit:

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Copy of the birth certificate indicating the name of the petitioner and the name of the parent.
  • If you were not born in the US, you must also present a copy of the certificate of naturalization or citizenship or the American passport. 
  • Evidence of having been recognized before turning 18 years old. Either through the marriage of their parents, the laws of the country of origin or residence. It includes the laws of the country or state of birth and / or residence of the parents.

Stepfather / stepmother petition

If you want to ask the stepfather or stepmother to live in the United States, the petitioner must present: 

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Copy of the birth certificate showing the names of your parents.
  • Copy of the civil marriage certificate of the mother / natural father with his stepfather or stepmother. The document must indicate that the marriage took place before your 18th birthday.

In case of divorce or death of the previous spouse of the stepfather or stepmother, present the respective document. The law requires proof that the divorce or annulment of the previous marriage of the stepfather was legally ended.

Can I bring my adoptive parents to USA permanently?

Yes you can, submit the following documents: 

  • Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Copy of the petitioner’s birth certificate.
  • Copy of Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship if born outside the US
  • Certified copy of the adoption certificate that evidences that the adoption was before the 16th birthday.
  • Affidavit showing the places and dates where the petitioner lived together with his adoptive parents.

In case the name of the petitioner or that of his parents has changed, you must include the documents that certify it. They can be: marriage certificate, court order authorizing name change and divorce or adoption decree.

Undocumented Parent Petition  

Can I bring my undocumented parents to USA permanently? There are two situations that could occur with parents without papers to apply for the green card:

1. They are currently in the US illegally but entered legally through a port of entry. In other words, they were admitted by an immigration officer who stamped their passports. They can adjust their status to obtain permanent residence.

2. They are illegally in the US but when they entered the country they did so illegally when crossing the border. As indicated above, you could apply for an immigration waiver for illegal presence and wait the necessary time to return.

The other option is to serve the penalty of 3 or 10 years, before being able to return. Either way, you will need the advice and legal representation of an attorney to ensure that the procedure is done correctly. Call us now and we will evaluate your case.

how to petition your parents in the united states

Children members of the Armed Forces

Citizens serving active duty in the Military Forces can petition their parents through parole in place . While solving their legal situation and adjusting the status, parents can obtain residence permits for one year, extendable.

Likewise, they have the right to process work permits. Sometimes they can even benefit from 245 (i) immigration protection , if they already have a family petition. 

This legal option allows certain foreigners to become permanent residents without leaving the United States.

What is the process for a citizen child to petition their parents?

Once the American citizen meets the requirements, the procedure for petitioning for citizen children to parents is as follows:

  1. Submit the I-130 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) . Wait for USCIS to notify the approval or rejection of the immigrant visa application. 
  2. Send the approved petition along with the other documents to the National Visa Center . This procedure may take a little longer because it will be necessary to present other documents requested by the entity.  
  3. Go to a licensed health provider to request the medical examination. Then bring the results to the interview at the embassy or consulate of the country where the parents live.
  4. After the immigrant visa for the parents is approved, they must travel to the US within six months. Upon entering the country, an immigration officer will stamp your passports as a sign of approval of the Green Card. 

What should you keep in mind before filing the parent petition?

  • The petitioner must be over 21 years of age.
  • You need to show that you have sufficient financial resources to serve as sponsored. 
  • You cannot include your foreign siblings in your parents’ petition. To request siblings you need to make a separate request.  
  • If you obtained citizenship after benefiting from the Special Immigrants Juvenile program, you will not be able to petition your parents.

If you need to petition your parents, contact any of our attorneys. During the no-obligation consultation we offer, we evaluate your case and guide you through the entire process.

How much do you need to earn to petition your parents?

The application for permanent residence for parents in the United States requires the petitioner to serve as a sponsor. In 2021 the minimum income to sponsor the Green card to a relative are these:

No. of people per household125% according to HHS poverty guidelines
2$ 21,775
3$ 27,450
4$ 33,125
5$ 38,800
6$ 44,475
7$ 50,150
8$ 55,825
9Add $ 5,675 for each additional person

For sponsors on active duty in the US military or citizens of Alaska or Hawaii, there are modified guidelines.

How long does the petition of a citizen son to his father last?

The process for a citizen to request the Green Card for their parents can take from 5 months to 10 years. It will depend on the immigration status of the father and the circumstances of each family. Also the assigned processing center and the cases it handles.

Sometimes it is even impossible to do so because the parents’ eligibility conditions do not allow it. If the parents are classified as inadmissible despite obtaining the immigration waiver, it could take up to 10 years. 

The explanation is that he may have to previously serve the penalty of 3 or 10 years. There are cases in which the immigration pardon is not even granted, despite being the father of an American citizen.  

adjustment of status

If the parents already live in the US and there is no legal obstacle to the adjustment of status , the process is quick. Once the process has started, you must remain in the country.  

But, if one of the parents accumulated an illegal presence in the country, this process can take years to resolve. 

If USCIS approves the request to petition the parent in such a situation, it will need to complete the process out of the country. The regular procedure is through the consular process with the I-601A immigration waiver application . Only in this way will you avoid the Law of Punishment for Unlawful Presence. 

How to check the petition of children to parents?

This USCIS tool could help you determine how long a citizen child petition to a parent takes. There the USCIS processing times are indicated for the family based immigration petition and other applications.

Then follow the instructions:

1. Select the type of form I-130 and the office that processes your case (California Service Center). Then another window is displayed where the processing times are shown.

2. Choose the option to petition a US citizen for a spouse, parent, or child under 21 years of age. Currently, the delay at the California Service Center is 19.5 to 25.5 months on average.

Processing of Form I-485 , Application to Register Permanent Residence / Adjustment of Status is 43.5 to 63 months at present.

What happens after I have processed the request for the Green Card for parents?

USCIS will notify that the submitted petition was approved or rejected. When the parents are already in the US, they could apply for adjustment of status using Form I-485. This procedure can be done in conjunction with Form I-130. 

What happens when the family sponsor’s income is insufficient?

In such cases personal assets (property, bank deposits, stocks or bonds may be considered in determining financial capacity. However, the sponsor’s assets must be converted into cash within one year. 

These assets are not accounted for their total cash value, but adjusted in the supporting affidavit. It is difficult for the sponsor to have the required cash assets to qualify. Therefore, another family member is allowed to contribute.

It can be the spouse, an adult child, the father or a brother who lives at the same address. There is also the figure of the joint sponsor who does not have to be a member of the family. You also don’t need to live under the same roof. 

Is it possible to appeal if the request is rejected?

Yes. The denial notice sent by USCIS indicates how and when the petitioner can appeal this decision. You must file Form EOIR-29 with USCIS and pay the appropriate fee. 

After processing the Appeal Form, the agency forwards the request to the Board of Immigration Appeals. 

Your attorney or the legal representative accredited to the BIA, must file Form EOIR-27 on behalf of the petitioner, along with Form EOIR-29.

What other relatives can be requested by an American citizen?

  • Spouse.
  • Unmarried children under 21 years of age.
  • Unmarried children over 21 years of age.
  • Married children of any age.
  • Children adopted abroad.
  • Orphans planning to adopt in the US
  • Siblings 21 years of age or older.

These immediate relatives always have a visa number. For this reason they should not worry about the visa priority date or waiting times.


Now you know the answer to: Can i bring my parents to USA permanently? However, some cases of petitioning for citizen children to parents can be complicated. With the help of a Los Angeles immigration law attorney, it is always possible to shorten time limits. Do not hesitate to call us and request a consultation without obligation.