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Many individuals living in the United States wish to bring their elderly parents to live with them, whether for companionship, care giving, or family reunification. While U.S. immigration laws offer pathways for family reunification, the process of bringing elderly parents to the United States can be complex. In this blog, we’ll explore the options available for sponsoring and bringing your elderly parents to the United States.
1. Family-Based Immigration: Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens
The most straightforward option for bringing elderly parents to the United States is through family-based immigration, specifically as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Immediate relatives include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens. Here’s how the process generally works:
- As a U.S. citizen, you can file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of your parent(s).
- After USCIS approves the I-130 petition, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing.
- Your parent(s) will need to complete the required visa application forms, undergo a medical examination, and attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
- Upon approval, they will receive immigrant visas and can enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders).
2. Family-Based Immigration: Family Preference Categories
If you are a U.S. citizen and your parents do not qualify as immediate relatives, they may still be eligible for family-based immigration under a family preference category. However, this category involves longer waiting periods, as it has numerical limitations and a backlog for certain countries. The process includes:
- You file an I-130 petition for your parent(s) and wait for USCIS approval.
- Once the petition is approved, it enters a visa bulletin queue, and your parents must wait until their priority date becomes current.
- When their priority date is current, they can apply for immigrant visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
3. Non-Immigrant Visa: Visitor Visa (B-2 Visa)
While not a permanent solution, your elderly parents may apply for a B-2 tourist visa to visit the United States for a limited duration. The B-2 visa allows them to stay temporarily for tourism, medical treatment, or family visits. To increase their chances of approval, they should provide a clear purpose for their visit, demonstrate strong ties to their home country, and show sufficient financial means to cover their stay.
4. Humanitarian Parole
In rare and exceptional circumstances, you may request humanitarian parole for your elderly parents if they need to enter the United States urgently due to medical or humanitarian reasons. Humanitarian parole is typically granted for a specific period and is not a permanent immigration solution.
5. Consider U.S. Citizenship for Yourself
If you are a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), consider taking steps to become a U.S. citizen. U.S. citizens have broader options and shorter waiting times for family-sponsored immigration, including the ability to sponsor parents as immediate relatives.
Bringing elderly parents to the United States involves a thoughtful and thorough immigration process that prioritizes family reunification. To initiate this process, you should consider the following key steps:
- Determine Eligibility: Understand the eligibility criteria for sponsoring your elderly parents, which typically requires you to be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old.
- File an Immigrant Petition: Complete and submit the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of your parents. This establishes the qualifying familial relationship between you and your parents.
- Wait for Approval: Once the petition is submitted, it will undergo review by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If approved, it signifies acceptance of your sponsorship.
- Apply for a Visa: Your parents will need to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. This process involves background checks, medical examinations, and interviews.
- Financial Responsibility: As the sponsoring adult child, you will need to demonstrate your ability to financially support your parents in the U.S., ensuring they will not become public charges.
- Affidavit of Support: File the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, to provide evidence of your financial capability.
- Consular Processing: Your parents will undergo consular processing, which involves a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. If successful, they will receive an immigrant visa.
- Travel and Entry: Upon obtaining the immigrant visa, your parents can travel to the United States. Upon arrival, they will go through customs and immigration procedures.
- Green Card Application: After entering the U.S., your parents will need to apply for a Green Card (Form I-485) to become lawful permanent residents.
- Adjustment of Status Interview: Attend the required adjustment of status interview with your parents, where they will be assessed for eligibility for permanent residency.
- Medical Coverage: Explore healthcare options and ensure your elderly parents have access to necessary medical care while in the U.S.
- Cultural and Emotional Support: Assist your parents in acclimating to life in the United States by providing emotional and cultural support. This can include language assistance, finding community resources, and helping them adjust to their new surroundings.
The process of bringing elderly parents to the United States can be intricate, requiring careful planning and adherence to immigration regulations. Consulting with an immigration attorney or utilizing resources provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can be invaluable in navigating this journey and ensuring a successful reunion with your loved ones.
Bringing elderly parents to the United States involves navigating the complexities of the U.S. immigration system. While family-based immigration offers a direct path, other options like visitor visas and humanitarian parole may provide temporary solutions. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help you determine the most appropriate approach based on your specific circumstances and goals. Reuniting with elderly parents in the United States can be a fulfilling journey, and understanding the available options is the first step towards achieving that goal.