People find themselves living thousands of miles away from their family members for many reasons.
Perhaps you entered the United States for college and then got a job. Maybe you fell in love with a citizen of the United States and later married them.
Between your employment and social networks in the United States, you have been able to secure a green card or citizenship. Now that you have settled in the United States, you want to reconnect with your loved ones still living in other countries. If your parents are foreign nationals, you may want to help them enter the United States so that you can support them in their golden years or so that they can help you as you start a family.
When can you help your parents obtain a visa or a green card?
Only citizens can sponsor parents for green cards
You have to be 21 years of age and a legal citizen to help your parents secure a green card. They will typically need to pass a thorough background check and to be in the other country when you apply for a green card on their behalf. They can then enter the country after the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants your request.
Unfortunately, those who enter the country on a visa or who are permanent residents typically cannot help their parents get a green card to permanently live in the United States.
Could you help your parents secure a visa?
While there are no visa programs specifically for permanent residents helping their parents enter the country, you can still offer support. You can connect your parents with an immigration attorney or help cover some of their costs. You might help them find a job with a company that will sponsor them. You can also provide translation services so they understand the different visa programs for which they may potentially qualify.
If you cannot find alternative means of helping your parents enter the country, your desire to reconnect with them could be a powerful motivation to pursue naturalization. Once you become a naturalized citizen, more of your family members, including your siblings, could potentially benefit from that decision.
Learning how family-based immigration works can help those hoping to reconnect with loved ones living abroad.