One of the great reasons for green card holders to get U.S. citizenship is that they can use that status to help their parents get green cards in the United States.

The U.S. immigration system places a great deal of value on keeping families together. The way that family-based immigration works, it starts a chain of immigration that can spread throughout an extended family. Immigrants have chosen the United States to relocate their families for centuries and as a U.S. citizen, you can be the foundation on which your family is established in the United States.

But, that leaves the question: how do you help a parent immigrate to the United States? Here, we’ll provide you an outline of how it’s done.

Green Card for Parents: Petition

The first step in any family-based immigration process is filing form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.

To better understand how this form is used, imagine it being part of a conversation between you, the U.S. government. Using Form I-130, you ask the U.S. government to let your parent come to the United States.

Form I-130 is usually filed with supporting documents that tell the U.S. government why your parent should be allowed to come to the U.S. In this case, the supporting documents should show that your parent is your parent in a legal sense.

This can often be easily accomplished by showing your birth certificate with your parent listed on the certificate. However, there are many other documents that can show your relationship including adoption papers or baptismal certificates.

Green Card for Parents: Immigration

When the petition is approved, your job in the immigration process for your parent is effectively over. Now it is your parent’s responsibility to finish the process.

When a visa number becomes available, your parent can apply for immigration to the United States at a U.S. consulate or they can apply to adjust their status if they are currently and legally in the U.S.

There are, of course, many other smaller steps along the way, but this is a general outline of how a U.S citizen can apply for the immigration of their parent.