One of the questions we frequently get asked by our clients is whether they should sponsor their parents’ Green Card through Adjustment of Status or consular processing. Our response is that it really depends on your specific situation. In this article we will outline what you should consider before you select between the two options.
Adjustment of Status
If your parents are already in the United Status on a valid visa such as a B-1/B-2 temporary visa and you have decided to sponsor their Green Card, you can file through Adjustment of Status and they can stay in the United States while their Green Card application is pending. As much as possible you should file their Green Card application for Adjustment of Status before their I-94 expires. Once their Green Card application has been received by USCIS, they can stay in the U.S. beyond their I-94 validity date as long as their Green Card application is pending and they have received their receipt notice. Their status during this time will be “pending Adjustment of Status”.
When filing for Adjustment of Status for your parents, you will have to file the Immigration petition for Green Card, Adjustment of Status and Affidavit of Support. We also recommend filing for Employment Authorization and Advance Parole. There is no additional fee for these forms and your parents will get their social security number with their employment authorization which is a great benefit and the advance parole will allow your parents to travel outside the United States while their Green Card application is still pending adjudication.
The processing times for the Green Card application through Adjustment of Status can vary and depends on the volume of work and resources assigned to the case. Based on recent trends, it is taking an average of 14 to 18 months to get the Green Card approval for parents through Adjustment of Status , although this is always subject to change. Processing time for employment authorization and advance parole is currently between 4 to 12 months but this also varies and is subject to change based on USCIS case priorities.
An important point to remember about Green Card through Adjustment of Status is that parents cannot travel outside the United States until their advance parole or Green Card has been approved. For many clients this is not an issue, specially if parents are elderly and prefer to stay in the United States with the child who is sponsoring them. However, if it is an issue for the parents to stay in the United States for an extended period of time while their Green Card is pending, the Consular Processing option may be a good alternative.
Green Card through Consular Processing can be filed when your parents are outside the United States. Unlike Adjustment of Status , you will first need to file only the Immigration petition for Green Card for your parents with USCIS. Once the Immigration petition is approved, your parents’ case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) and they will need to submit the NVC online application along with sponsor’s affidavit of support. Once the NVC application is approved, your parents will need to attend a Green Card interview at an assigned US Consulate in their home country. Processing times for Green Card applications through Consular Processing also vary but generally range from 18 months to 24 months. The benefit is that the parents can continue to stay in their home country while their Green Card is pending and once their Green Card is approved, they are able to enter the United States on valid Green Card status and will be assigned a social security number after they arrive in the United States. During the time that their Green Card is pending, they should be able to travel to the United States on their B-2 tourist visa as long as they are honest and let the CBP (Custom and Border Patrol) immigration officer know at the port of entry that they have a pending immigration visa petition – if they are asked. We have many clients who have been able to visit the United States while their Consular Processing Green Card is pending and they returned to their home country after their visit in order to complete the Consular Processing application. However it should be noted that the final decision for entry to the United States while an immigrant visa petition is pending, is always at the discretion of the CBP immigration officer.
Green Card Documentation
The documents required for both Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing are similar. For both processes, you will need to establish the relationship between yourself as the sponsor and the parents being sponsored, through birth certificates affidavits and secondary evidence. In the case of Green Card for fathers, there is also a requirement for marriage certificate of your father and mother in order to establish paternity.
The sponsor will also need to provide proof of valid US citizenship and an affidavit of support showing adequate financial funds in the form of recently filed income tax returns and recent W-2, employment verification letter and recent pay slips and bank statements.
The process of applying for Green Card for your parents through Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing can be challenging at times but if you work with an experienced immigration attorney, you can get the help and support you need for a successful outcome.
At Verma Law Firm, we have over 25 years of experience with family immigration and can help you and your family obtain a Green Card successfully.