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How Parents of U.S. Citizens Can Get a Green Card

One of the most effective ways for immigrants to apply for permanent legal residence status in the United States is to have an “Immediate Relative” in the United States file a petition on their behalf. A prent of a U.S. citizen is an immediate relative.  In order to qualify as an immediate realtive of a U.S. citizen child, the child must be over the age of 21. 

Stepparents and stepchildren may also qualify as “Immediate Relatives” if the marriage creating the stepparent/stepchild relationship occurred before the stepchild’s 18th birthday.

One of the main benefits of being an “Immediate Relative” of a United States citizen is that there is no limit on the number of visas available for the relative to migrate to the U.S.  This benefit is not available in other status categories, where there is an annual quota. And that means that there is no real delay, except for processing time, for a parent of a U.S. citizen to be granted their Green Card.


Five years after obtaining their green card, the parent may apply for U.S. citizenship.

The time to process a case depends on whether the parent is in the United States with a legal entry or is living outside the United States. In the United States the process is called Adjustment of Status and it takes about 6 months. If the parent is outside the U.S., it is called consular processing, and it can take about 10 months or so.

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