Foreign nationals may apply for permanent residency through a family member who is either a US citizen or lawful permanent resident. While a permanent resident may only sponsor a spouse and unmarried children, a citizen can petition for parents, brothers, sisters, and married children as well.
Relatives are classified into two main categories, then assigned preference levels, based on their relationship to the sponsors.
The immigration law defines a "child" or "minor child" as an unmarried person under 21 years of age. After a child turns 21, he or she will become a son or daughter. If a "child" gets married, he or she will be classified as a married son or daughter, regardless of age.
If you fall under any of the above categories, your sponsor must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the USCIS and list you as the beneficiary. Form I-130 is typically submitted along with the following documents:
After I-130 is approved, and if your sponsor selected Adjustment of Status and a visa number is available to you (or not required), you may proceed to file Form I-485.
If Consular Processing was chosen on Form I-130, the approval notice will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) to begin the immigrant visa application process.
In either case the petitioner must provide Affidavit of Support (I-864 series of forms) to show that they are able to financially support you (at least 125% above poverty line) so you are unlikely to become a public charge.
When a visa number becomes available, and your background checks have cleared, your AOS or CP application will be processed. An approval at this stage means granting of permanent residency (issuance of green card) to you.
Your son may file an immigrant petition for you only after he has turned 21.
No. A permanent resident can not sponsor his or her parents to immigrate to the US. They will become eligible, however, after becoming U.S. citizens through naturalization.
In order to sponsor an immigrant through family relationship, your household income must be equal to or greater than 125 percent of the current poverty level for the size of your household. Note that sponsors on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces who are petitioning for their spouse or child only need to meet 100% of poverty lines, not 125%.
To meet the income requirement you may count wages, assets, income from dependents and intending immigrants, and a joint sponsor, under certain restrictions.
Your household size must include the following persons:
For example, if you and your spouse have two children, and you are filing immigrant petitions for your parents, your household size would be six (6). For 2009, the income requirement is $36,912.
The official poverty guidelines for immigration purposes are disclosed in Form I-864P, updated every spring. They are based on guidelines published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2). They have typically been published in February, or sometimes in late January.
Immediately after they are published in the Federal Registrar. However, some programs may elect to adopt the new levels on a later date. For immigration petitions, always refer to Form I-864P for their exact effective dates.
The Poverty Guidelines published by the USCIS are the same for the 48 Contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Only Hawaii and Alaska have different guidelines.