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One of the fundamental values that underpin America’s immigration system is family reunification. Many immigrants who have made the United States their home are often eager to bring their loved ones to join them. One of the most common questions we at The Law Office of Olena Manilich encounter is, “Can I sponsor my parents if I have a green card?” This article aims to provide a comprehensive answer to this crucial question.

Green Card Holders vs. US Citizens

At the start, there is a critical distinction: the difference between green card holders (lawful permanent residents) and US citizens. When it comes to sponsoring family members for immigration to the US, citizens have more privileges than green card holders.

As a green card holder, you can sponsor your spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) to immigrate to the US. However, you are unable to sponsor your parents until you become a US citizen.

The Path to US Citizenship

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To sponsor your parents, the first step is to become a US citizen. This process is known as naturalization.

To qualify for naturalization, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old at the time of filing
  2. Be a green card holder for at least five years (or three years if married to a US citizen)
  3. Have lived within the state or USCIS district where you claim residence for at least three months before filing
  4. Demonstrate continuous residence in the US for at least five years immediately preceding the filing date
  5. Show that you have been physically present in the US for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately preceding the filing date.
  6. Be able to read, write, and speak English and have knowledge of US history and government.
  7. Be a person of good moral character.

After becoming a US citizen, you can then sponsor your parents for a green card.

Sponsoring Your Parents: The Process

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Once you have attained US citizenship, the process of sponsoring your parents can begin. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. File Form I-130: This is the Petition for Alien Relative, which establishes the qualifying relationship between you and your parents. You will need to submit separate I-130 forms for each parent.
  2. Wait for approval: The USCIS will review your petition. This process can take several months. Once approved, your parents will be placed in line to receive an immigrant visa number.
  3. Apply for the green card: Once an immigrant visa number is available, your parents can apply for a green card. If they are outside the US, they will go through consular processing at a US Department of State consulate abroad. If they are already in the US legally, they may apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident.
  4. Attend a Biometrics Appointment and Interview: Your parents will be required to provide fingerprints, photo, and signature at a biometrics appointment. They will also attend an interview where they’ll answer questions under oath about their application.
  5. Green Card Approval: If all goes well, your parents will be approved for green cards.


While green card holders are limited in their ability to sponsor family members, becoming a US citizen opens the door to family-based immigration for parents. The process can be complex and requires careful attention to detail.

The Law Office of Olena Manilich is here to guide you through every step of this process, providing experienced, empathetic legal support to ensure you and your loved ones navigate the immigration system successfully. Whether you’re applying for citizenship or starting the process of sponsoring your parents, reach out to us today for expert assistance. We’re dedicated to reuniting families and helping immigrants realize their American dream.