Family reunification is a core principle of U.S. immigration policy, and as a permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States, you have the opportunity to sponsor your parents for immigration to the country. While the process may be somewhat different from that of U.S. citizens sponsoring parents, it is indeed possible. In this blog, we will explore the steps and requirements for obtaining a visa for your parent as a permanent resident of the United States.
Understanding Family-Based Immigration for Permanent Residents
U.S. immigration law allows permanent residents to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States. The family-sponsored preference categories include:
- F2B Visa Category: This category is specifically for unmarried children (over 21 years old) of permanent residents. In some cases, your parents may fall under this category if they are unmarried.
Requirements for Obtaining a Visa for Your Parent as a Permanent Resident
To bring your parent to the United States as a permanent resident, you must meet specific eligibility criteria and follow a structured application process:
1. Valid Permanent Resident Status:
- You must be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States to sponsor your parent.
2. Qualifying Relationship:
- For the F2B category, your parent must be an unmarried son or daughter (over 21 years old) of a permanent resident.
3. Visa Petition (Form I-130):
- File a visa petition on behalf of your parent by submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form establishes the qualifying relationship between you and your parent.
4. Supporting Documentation:
- Include supporting documents with your Form I-130, such as evidence of your lawful permanent resident status (copy of green card), your birth certificate or other proof of your relationship to your parent, and any required translations and documentation related to your parent’s eligibility.
5. Visa Bulletin:
- Keep track of the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State. This bulletin determines when visas become available for family-sponsored preference categories, including F2B for unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents.
6. Visa Application (DS-260):
- After USCIS approves your Form I-130, your parent will need to complete the online visa application form DS-260 and pay the required fees.
7. Visa Interview:
- Once the National Visa Center (NVC) processes your parent’s visa application, they will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
8. Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
- As the sponsor, you will need to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support your parent and that they will not become a public charge in the United States.
9. Medical Examination and Background Checks:
- Your parent will undergo a medical examination and background checks as part of the visa application process.
10. Visa Issuance:
- If approved, your parent will receive an immigrant visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
11. Entry to the United States:
- Upon arrival in the United States, your parent will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. They will also receive a sealed packet containing important immigration documents.
12. Adjustment of Status (if applicable):
- Depending on your parent's immigration status, they may need to file for adjustment of status to become lawful permanent residents after entry.
Sponsoring your parent as a permanent resident of the United States involves a comprehensive process that requires careful documentation and adherence to immigration laws and regulations. While the wait for visa availability in the F2B category can be lengthy, family reunification remains a fundamental principle of U.S. immigration. With patience and diligence, you can successfully navigate the visa application process and be reunited with your parent in the United States. Consult with immigration experts or legal professionals for guidance on specific requirements and procedures related to your situation.