Applying for a Green Card for Your Mother

Applying for a Green Card for Your Mother If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years of age, you can petition for your mother to live in the United States as a green card holder. To petition for your mother to live in the U.S. as a green card holder, you must be 21-years of age or older and a United States citizen. Green card holders (lawful permanent residents) are not allowed to petition for their parents to …

If you are a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years of age, you can petition for your mother to live in the United States as a green card holder.

To petition for your mother to live in the U.S. as a green card holder, you must be 21-years of age or older and a United States citizen. Green card holders (lawful permanent residents) are not allowed to petition for their parents to permanently live in the United States.

As one of your parents, your mother is considered an immediate relative, qualifying her for an Immediate Relative Immigrant Visa of the fifth category (IR-5). These visas are based on a close family relationship with a U.S. citizen. There are an unlimited number of these visas available every year and no waiting list. Furthermore, you may petition for a birth mother, a step-mother, or an adoptive mother- provided you have the proper documentation.

If you are considering sponsoring your mother for a green card, you should understand that you will be financially responsible for your mother. To successfully petition for her visa, you must be able to show that your income is 125% or more than that of the current U.S. poverty guideline. This shows that you are able to provide for your own household and provide assistance to your mother without anyone becoming a financial burden on the federal system.

Also, for your mother to be eligible for sponsorship, she must show that she does not have a criminal record or any immigration violations, that she is healthy and not a public health risk, and that she has no physical or mental disorder that would make her a danger to anyone.

How to Apply for a Green Card for my Mother

The form needed to initiate the green card process for the mother of a U.S. citizen is USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The purpose of the petition is to show that you are a United States citizen and to demonstrate the existence of a parent-child relationship.

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If you wish to sponsor your birth mother who lives outside the United States, you will need the following documents:

  • A completed Form I-130;
  • A photocopy of your birth certificate with your name and your mother’s name;
  • A photocopy of your Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or United States passport if you were not born in the U.S.

If you wish to sponsor your step-mother, you will need the following documentation:

  • A completed Form I-130;
  • A photocopy of your birth certificate with the names of your birth parents listed;
  • A photocopy of the marriage certificate of your birth parent to your step-mother that shows the marriage took place prior to your 18th birthday;
  • Photocopies of any other documents showing that any previous marriage entered into by your birth parent or step-mother ended legally. These documents may include annulment decrees, divorce decrees, death decrees, etc.

If you wish to sponsor your adoptive mother, you will need the following documents:

  • A completed Form I-130;
  • A photocopy of your birth certificate;
  • A photocopy of your Certificate of Naturalization or your Certificate of Citizenship if you were born somewhere other than the United States;
  • A certified photocopy of the adoption certificate that shows the adoption occurred prior to your 16th birthday;
  • A statement indicating the places you have lived with your parent and the dates you lived in those places.

Be sure to send copies of these documents and not the originals — you will not get them back.

*If yours or your parent’s legal name is different than the one listed on a supporting document, you must include evidence of that name change. This evidence can include a marriage certificate, adoption decree, death decree, court judgement of name change, etc.

After Your Petition is Filed

USCIS will notify you to tell you whether your Form I-130 has been approved or denied. If your mother is living outside the United States when the petition is approved, USCIS will notify her to visit the local U.S. consulate for completion of the visa processing. If your mother is currently residing in the U.S., she could be eligible to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status at the same time you file Form I-130.

Employment Authorization for My Mother

Once your mother is admitted into the United States as an immigrant with her immigrant visa, she will not have to apply for a work permit (employment authorization). If your mother is currently outside the U.S., she will receive a passport stamp when she arrives in the United States. This stamp is proof that she has permission to work in the U.S. until she receives her Permanent Resident Card.

If your mother is living in the United States and has applied to adjust her status to permanent resident by filing Form I-485, she can apply for a work permit and travel authorization while she is waiting to hear from USCIS about her case. She can do so with Form I-765 and Form I-131, respectively. Until a decision has been made concerning her application to adjust status, the fees for Form I-765 and Form I-131 will be covered by the fee paid to file Form I-485.

Appealing the Denial of Your Petition

You will receive a denial letter from USCIS if your petition is denied. This letter will let you know the process for making an appeal and how much time you have to do so. Your appeal will be forwarded to the Board of Immigration Appeals once the appeal form and necessary fee have been processed. More information about appeals can be found in the “How Do I Customer Guides” of the USCIS website.

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