When referring to family petitions where a U.S. citizen son would like to submit a petition to offer a parent legal status in the U.S., there are two parts involved: the U.S. citizen son filing the petition, or petitioner, and the parent of the U.S. citizen, or beneficiary.
U.S. citizens’ parents are considered immediate relatives, so unlike other classes of immigrants, the ability to obtain an immigrant visa isn’t restricted by numerical limitations or priority dates. In addition, if the U.S. citizen child is over 21 years old years old, they may file an immediate relative petition as a one-step application.
To take advantage of this process, the parent of the U.S. citizen must be living in the United States and have proof that they entered legally. The parent must also show that they are admissible to the U.S. and aren’t deportable. In addition, the petitioner (U.S. citizen) will need to present evidence of their family relationship. If neither party has a birth certificate or other proper documentation, they should consult with an immigration attorney.
In situations where the U.S. citizen petitioner wants their parent to live in the United States permanently, it’s essential to know about the legal concept of nonimmigrant intent. Most foreign nationals must demonstrate that they intend to return home after completing their planned program or job. This requires them to show they have a residence outside of the U.S. that they intend to return to.
However, if a visitor takes steps to become a lawful permanent resident, in that case, USCIS may believe this action is contrary to the original intent and could decide that the visitor has violated the terms of their stay. Misrepresentation is a serious violation of immigration law which can give a base to USCIS to deny the application. Typically, USCIS will scrutinize the timing of the parent’s steps to become a lawful permanent resident. For this reason, it’s essential that those who wish to apply for an adjustment of status based on a family relationship consult with an immigration attorney.
If the parent of a U.S. citizen is living abroad, the U.S. citizen may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Once USCIS approves the petition, the approval notice will be forwarded to the Department of State’s National Visa Center, also known as NVC. The National Visa Center will issue a packet of documents and process the initial forms depending on the beneficiary’s country of origin.
After the petitioner has completed these documents, the National Visa Center will forward the case to the appropriate U.S. consulate. Once the process is complete, and the parent of the U.S. citizen is granted an immigrant visa, they will be allowed to enter the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident, also known as LPR —unless the Port of Entry Officer determines that the visa was granted inappropriately.
After 9/11, USCIS changed the immediate relative green card procedure, which can be frustrating for many applicants. Additionally, consulates may deny the application if there are omissions or errors or the applicant didn’t provide the required supporting documentation.