If you sponsor your parents, you will do so for a family-based green card. In most cases, you will need to sign an affidavit of support for the person or people you are sponsoring. An affidavit of support (form I-864) is a legally binding contract, meaning you can be taken to court, either by the government or the person you are sponsoring, if you do not fulfill the obligations you have promised to do.

A sponsor is responsible until their sponsor becomes a U.S. citizen, earns 40 work quarters credited towards social security, usually about ten years of work, permanently leaves the United States, or dies.

It is important to note that filing for bankruptcy does not end your sponsorship obligations. As such, it is an agreement to enter into only if you have the utmost confidence you will be able to handle the responsibility that would be placed on you.

Am I Eligible to Sponsor My Parents for a Green Card?

To sponsor a relative’s green card, you must be a U.S. citizen. Green card holders can be sponsors, but only for a spouse or a child. You must also be over the age of 21 and be willing and able to sponsor your parents financially.

The most common minimum annual income you will need to sponsor a family member is about $23,000. This, however, is only for sponsoring one person. If you want to sponsor both your parents, you should have a minimum yearly income of $29,000.

What is the Process to Sponsor a Green Card?

The first step to sponsoring a parent’s green card is to file an immigration petition for the beneficiary (form I-130) for each parent. This will cost $420 per application and may take three months or more to process. If you are filing for a mother and father, you will need an I-130 for each of them, a copy of your birth certificate with your and your parents’ names on it, a copy of your passport or Certificate of Naturalization, and a copy of your parent’s marriage certificate.

You will then need to complete form G-325A, which declares all biographical information. Then, complete an affidavit of support (form I-864), and lastly, there will be a medical exam and form I-693, which reports the results of the exam to USCIS.

Can I Appeal a Denied Petition to Sponsor a Parents’ Green Card?

If your petition to sponsor a green card is denied, there is an appeal process in some cases. However, there are times when it is more cost and time effective to simply start over and file a new petition. Generally, beginning again is the best choice if you are denied early in the process, such as for your initial I-130.

If you get denied later in the process, USCIS will send you a notice that tells you if you can appeal the decision and, if so, how to do it. In most denial situations, there is no appeal process. Instead, you will have to file a motion to have your case reopened and reconsidered or else start an entirely new application.

In any scenario, an attorney can help you decide the best course of action and guide you through the correct process. For an experienced Californian immigration lawyer, call (408) 645-6395 now.