Can Your Parents Apply For A Green Card While On A Tourist Visa?

Applying for a Parent's Green Card While on a Tourist Visa | Cheng, Cho, &  Yee | Chicago, IL

Having your parents immigrate to the United States is a dream for many families. If your parents are on a tourist visa in the US, you may wonder if they can apply for permanent resident status. There are options for parents of US citizens and permanent residents to obtain green cards. However, the process can be complex if your parents enter the US on a non-immigrant visa. This article will cover everything you need to know about getting green cards for parents on a tourist visa.

Can I Apply for a Green Card While on a Visitor Visa?

Yes, it is possible to apply for a green card while in the US on a visitor visa in certain situations. The process is called adjustment of status. To qualify, you must have a family member or employer sponsor you, and a visa number must be immediately available.

You cannot arrive in the US on a visitor visa with the intention of applying for permanent residence. However, if your circumstances change after arrival, adjustment of status may be an option. Speak with a family immigration lawyer to understand the requirements in your specific case.

What is Adjustment of Status?

Adjustment of status is a procedure that allows eligible individuals already in the United States to apply for permanent resident status (get a green card) without having to return to their home country for consular processing. The process begins with filing an adjustment of status application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Is It Possible for My Parents to Adjust Status from a Tourist Visa?

It is possible for parents of US citizens to apply for green cards from within the US through a process called adjustment of status. However, they must have been inspected and admitted legally on their tourist visa. Entering without inspection or overstaying their visa can bar eligibility.

Your parent must also be the beneficiary of an approved I-130 petition that you filed for them. This establishes your relationship as their US citizen child sponsoring them for permanent residence. A visa must also be immediately available in the family-based preference category for parents.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for My Parents to Adjust Status?

For your parents to qualify for adjustment of status from their tourist visa, they must meet all of these criteria:

  • They must have been admitted to the US in a valid nonimmigrant status, such as a tourist visa.
  • You must file Form I-130 on their behalf, establishing your relationship.
  • An immigrant visa based on the family preference category must be immediately available.
  • They must not have engaged in unauthorized employment.
  • They must have maintained lawful nonimmigrant status in the US.
  • They cannot have been out of status for more than 180 days.
  • They must pass a medical exam and background check.

Meeting all the requirements is key for parents to adjust their status from a tourist visa. Speaking with an immigration attorney can help determine eligibility.

What Steps Are Involved in the Process for My Parents?

If eligible for adjustment of status, your parents would go through these steps:

  • You file Form I-130 as their petitioning sponsor, along with proof of citizenship.
  • Once approved, your parents submit Form I-485 application to register for permanent residence.
  • They must submit documents like passports, I-94 records, photos, medical forms, and proof of status maintenance.
  • You as the sponsor, must provide evidence of income and assets using Form I-864.
  • Your parents must attend a biometrics appointment and interview with USCIS.
  • If approved, your parents will receive their green cards in the mail in 6-12 months.

Filing accurate paperwork and providing sufficient evidence is crucial for approval. Hiring an attorney makes the process smoother.

What If My Parents Entered the US Without Inspection?

If your parents entered the US illegally by evading inspection or staying beyond their authorized period of admission, they are barred from adjusting their status. Their only option is to go back to their home country and complete consular processing.

Your parents must have an approved I-130 and attend their visa interview at the US embassy abroad. They must also seek a waiver for their unlawful presence to overcome the bar to re-entry.

What Happens If No Visa Number Is Available?

Due to backlogs, your parents may have an approved I-130 but no visa availability yet. They can either remain in the US on a tourist visa awaiting availability to adjust status or return home to process at the US embassy when the priority date for visa issuance becomes current.

Speak with an immigration attorney to understand the visa bulletin and expected wait times, given your parents’ country of origin. Maintaining lawful status while waiting is crucial.

Can My Parents Travel Outside the US After Applying?

Once the I-130 is filed on their behalf, it’s best for your parents to remain in the United States and avoid international travel until they get their green cards. Leaving can trigger a ban if they were out of status before. Advanced parole allows maintaining their pending application.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Green Card for Parents?

The processing timelines are:

  • I-130 approval: 6-12 months
  • Adjustment of status if eligible: 6-12 months after I-130
  • Consular processing: 8-14 months after visa availability

So you should expect the entire green card process to take 12-18 months minimum if there are no visa backlogs. Having an attorney expedites the process where possible.

What Rights Do My Parents Have as Green Card Holders?

Once approved for permanent resident status, your parents can:

  • Live and work permanently in the United States.
  • Receive a 10-year green card valid for 10 years.
  • Sponsor other eligible relatives such as siblings or adult children.
  • Access benefits like Social Security and Medicare.
  • Travel abroad with fewer restrictions.
  • Eventually, apply for US citizenship.

Gaining green card status provides many privileges for your parents to live permanently with you!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How do I file a petition for an alien relative for my parents?

A. You can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to sponsor your parents for U.S. permanent residence. This establishes your qualifying relationship. Both parents can be included on one I-130 petition.

Q. What documents do I need for the adjustment of status application?

A. When filing Form I-485, you’ll need your passport, photos, medical exam results, proof of status, previous immigration violations, court records, tax returns, and sponsor’s Form I-864 Affidavit of Support.

Q. What if my parents overstayed their B-2 tourist visa?

A. If your parents overstayed their visa, they may be barred from adjusting their status within the U.S. They would need to process their green card through consular processing and may require a waiver.

Q. How do I check the status of my parent’s green card application?

A. Once application forms are filed, your parents will receive receipt notices with case numbers. They can use those numbers to check their case status updates online.

Key Takeaways

The process of getting green cards for parents on tourist visas can be complicated but is possible in many cases. The main options are adjusting their status within the US or consular processing from their home country. Either way, you must file an I-130 petition on their behalf and have an approved visa petition.

Parents must not have violated the terms of their status, overstayed visas, or worked illegally to be eligible. Expect a one to two-year timeline for the entire process. You can trust immigration firms like the Law Office of Lina Baroudi in San Jose to help evaluate your parents’ specific situation and guide the process smoothly.

You can help your parents go from tourist visa holders to permanent residents with the right strategy.

In summary:

  • Total processing time takes 12-18 months typically.
  • A visa is a document that allows you to enter the U.S. for a specific purpose and period, while a green card grants you permanent resident status.
  • Adjustment of status is a process that lets you apply for a green card without having to return to your home country.
  • You can adjust your status from a visitor visa to a green card, particularly through a family-based green card.
  • Consular processing is an alternative method for individuals outside the U.S. to obtain a green card.
  • A sponsor, usually a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, plays a vital role in the green card application process.
  • An immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen can help you get a green card.
  • The processing time for a green card can vary from several months to years.
  • It’s important to consider various factors when applying for a green card, including your eligibility, the cost, the waiting time, and the potential impact on your current visa status.

With proper preparation, you may be able to help your parents immigrate to the United States while here on tourist visas.

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