Question: What is the process to apply for an immigrant visa for my parent who is outside the U.S?
Answer: The process to apply for an immigrant visa for your parent who is outside the U.S. is called consular processing.
Consular Processing Steps
To apply for an immigrant visa for your parent who is outside the U.S., you must be a U.S. citizen over the age of 21. Permanent residents are not eligible to apply for an immigrant visa for a parent. The steps involved in the application process are as follows:
Step 1: Submit Form I-130 to USCIS.
The first thing you must do to obtain an immigrant visa for your parent who is outside the U.S. is complete and submit Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form requires you to provide basic background information about you and parent, including proof that you are a U.S. citizen and a copy of your birth certificate to prove the familial relationship between you and your parent. The filing fee for Form I-130 is currently $535. The timeframe for USCIS to approve a Form I-130 is typically around one year.
Step 2: Submit Form DS-260 and Form I-864 to NVC.
After USCIS approves your Form I-130, it will transfer your application to the National Visa Center (NVC). During this step, your parent must submit additional information to NVC on Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application). In addition, you must submit Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) and proof of your income. This form is used to demonstrate that you are prepared to support your parent financially so that he or she will not have to rely on the U.S. government for financial support after entering the country. The filing fee for Form DS-260 is $325, and the filing fee for Form I-864 is $120. It typically takes NVC several months to approve an application.
Step 3: Parent’s Visa Interview.
If NVC approves your application, it will transfer your case to the U.S. consulate or embassy with jurisdiction over your parent’s application. The consulate or embassy will then notify your parent of a date and time to arrive for an interview. The interview notice will include a list of required documents to bring along. If the interview takes place in the U.S., you must accompany your parent and ensure that he or she brings all required documents. Before his or her interview, your parent must undergo a physical exam, the results of which he or she must bring to the interview. If the interviewer is satisfied with your parent’s performance during the interview, the embassy or consulate will issue your parent an immigrant visa, and he or she will be permitted to travel to the U.S. A month or two after entering the U.S., your parent will receive a green card in the mail.
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ImmiFree.Law is The Harrison Law Firm P.C.’s online platform to make the family immigration and naturalization process more efficient, accurate, and affordable. Baya Harrison, Esq. is an attorney licensed in New York, Florida, and California. Attorney Harrison has helped numerous individuals and families navigate the U.S. immigration process, specifically family-based petitions and naturalization.