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Immediate relatives of U.S. Citizens: Parent(s)

The Parents of U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for permanent resident status as immediate relatives, but only if the citizen is 21 years of age or older.

To qualify as a parent of a U.S. citizen, a person must meet the similar test as for the child, except that the citizen can be married and must be over 21 years old. This means that if the U.S. citizen is adopted, the adoption must have been finalized before the child's 16th birthday, the parent must have legal custody of the child for two years (before or after the adoption), and the child must reside with the adoptive parent for two years (before or after the adoption); and if the U.S. citizen is a stepchild of the alien parent, the current marriage must have been taken place before the child's 18th birthday. [INA 101 (b)(1), (b)(1)(B)]

One thing to point out is that the father-in-law and mother-in-law of a U.S. citizen are not "parents" of the U.S. citizen for immigration purposes.

There are two scenarios for parents of the U.S. citizens to apply for immigration:

  1. The first scenario is that the alien parent is already in the United States. In this case, the U.S. citizen can file an immigration petition (Form I-130) and the parent can file an application to adjust status to permanent resident (Form I-485) at the same time.
  2. The second scenario is that the alien parent is outside the United States. In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file an immigration petition and request that the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where the parent lives. Once the immigration petition is approved, the National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department sends a forms and information package, "Packet 3", to the U.S. citizen. After the necessary forms are completed, the parent goes to the U.S. Consulate overseas to apply for an immigrant visa. On the day that the parent enters the United States on an immigrant visa, he or she becomes a U.S. permanent resident.

For more information on parents of U.S. citizens, please click on the following links:

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