The process of obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States can be overwhelming to navigate. Parents of US citizens will have an easier go of it because of how the system is constructed. In other words, you should keep reading if you fall into this category and would like to explore your options in terms of one day becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

The first factor to bear in mind is that only US citizens older than the age of 21 can apply for a green card for their parents. Parents of US citizens over the age of 21 are categorized as immediate relatives by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security.


Parents of US citizens over the age of 21 should not have to wait for a visa in the sense that the processing times are automatically expedited for such individuals. Still, taking a few technical steps, sequentially, will greatly reduce the time between applying for a green card and obtaining lawful permanent residency in the United States by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

How to fill out a green card for your parents? Form I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative is the best place to start the green card application process. You should know upfront that each parent will require a separate I-130 form. Each application will require documents and information specific to that individual per the green card package.

Birth certificates will then be required as part of your application to prove that the parent-child relationship exists.

A marriage certificate will also be required. You will be asked for the marriage certificates for the petitioner child – the citizen over age 21 requesting one or more green cards – and beneficiary parents will be requested at this point. Instances of adoption or lose of legal guardianship will require further documentation to satisfy the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.

Now, adjustment of status is a process and request fundamentally distinct from the Petition for Alien relative request delineated above. The former, adjust of status request, is performed when the beneficiary parent is already located in the United States but would still like to receive a green card.

An adjustment of status request requires completing a Form I-485 application for permanent residents. An adjust status can be filed alongside a Form I-130 in most instances in which the beneficiary parent has legally entered the United States through the visa process.

An affidavit of support is a critical proviso to all of the above processes since it is a process used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency to ensure that the beneficiary immigrant doesn’t become a public charge in the future. Annual income may be requested. If all goes well, an adjustment of status or consular process interview will result in a green card being mailed to your address following the interview.

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