U.S. Law Center

Bringing parents to the United States

When people who were born in other countries move to California or elsewhere in the United States permanently, they may be interested in reuniting other members of their family, such as parents. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, although permanent residents are not able to sponsor a parent for a green card, a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age does have this option.

The application that must be filed for a parent is form I-130, which is called the Petition for an Alien Relative. The adult child who applies must be able to prove that he or she can meet the qualifications to become the parent’s financial sponsor. In addition, the USCIS states that the relationship between the parent and the child who is filing the petition must be documented. Even though the person who is submitting the information is a U.S. citizen, if he or she was not born in this country, then the application requires a copy of either the U.S. passport or the certificate of naturalization.

If the mother on the submitted copy of the filer’s birth certificate is the person seeking a green card, then the documentation is complete. To petition for a father, the adult child needs to include a copy of the marriage certificate along with the other documents.

A father who was not married to the mother must have legitimated the child by his or her eighteenth birthday according to the laws where either the child or the father lives. If there is no legitimation, then there must be proof that before the child turned 21, or married, if that occurred first, a financial or emotional bond between father and child was present.

Form I-130 may still be valid for situations involving adoptive parents or step-parents. Other documentation is involved in these cases, though.

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