I have a green card: Can I apply for a green card for my parents?

Question: I am a U.S. lawful permanent resident (a green card holder). Can I apply for my parents to immigrate to the U.S. and receive a green card?

Answer: No, if you are a green card holder, you cannot apply for a green card for your parents. 

As a Green Card Holder, Which of My Relatives Can I Apply For?

As a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), you can apply only for your spouse and unmarried children to immigrate to the U.S. and receive green cards.

One of the benefits of obtaining U.S. citizenship is you can apply for more of your relatives to immigrate to the U.S.: your fiancé(e), your parents, your siblings, and your married children.

Green Card Waiting Period for Preference Relatives

As a green card holder, each of your relatives who is eligible for permanent residency is assigned a preference category for the purpose of determining how long he or she must wait to obtain a green card. Such relatives, also called “preference relatives,” often must wait several years before being allowed to apply for a green card. 

A limited number of green cards for preference relatives may go to any one country every year. Therefore, if a particularly high number of permanent residents submit petitions for their family members from certain countries—as is often the case with China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines—this can significantly increase wait times.

Due to the annual limits on green card issuance and the unpredictability of how many permanent residents will submit petitions for their family members each year, it is difficult to accurately predict how long family members must wait to obtain their green cards. 

A family member’s assigned preference category provides a general idea of how long a preference relative may have to wait before receiving a green card. 

Second Preference Category Waiting Periods

Spouses and children of green card holders are in the second preference category. Currently, there is no wait for the spouses and minor children of green card holders. In the past, however, the waiting period for the spouses and children of green card holders has been anywhere from 2 to 22 years, depending on the country of origin. In addition, the average waiting time for a green card holder’s unmarried children over 21 years of age is six years for most countries, 22 years for Mexican citizens, and ten years for citizens of the Philippines.

Leave a Reply