I am a U.S. citizen and I want to sponsor my parents for a Green Card. What documents do I need to submit to USCIS to demonstrate the parental relationship?

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If you are a U.S. citizen and you want to sponsor your parents for a Green Card, you will need to submit evidence demonstrating the parental relationship.

  1. I was born in wedlock and I want to sponsor my parents for a Green Card

If you were born in a wedlock and you want to sponsor your mother for a green card, you will have to submit a birth certificate showing your mother’s name.

If you were born in wedlock and you want to sponsor your father for a green card, you will have to submit a birth certificate showing your father’s name, your parents’ marriage certificate, and a proof of legal termination of any prior marriages.

Also, if any of your parent’s name was changed, you will have to submit documents showing the name change.

  1. I was born out of wedlock and I want to sponsor my parents for a Green Card

If you were born out of wedlock and you want to sponsor your mother for a green card, you have to submit the same documents as in section I.

If you were born out of wedlock and you want to sponsor your father for a green card, you will have to submit evidence that shows that he (i) is your natural father (you may demonstrate this by submitting your birth certificate that shows the name of your father) and that (ii) a bona fide parental relationship was established when you were unmarried and under the age of 21.

The question then arises: How can I prove the bona fide parental relationship?  You should submit evidence showing that your father expressed an interest in your support, instruction, and general welfare. You may submit documents showing that you and your father lived together or that your father held you our as being his own and he provided for you. For example, you may submit cancelled checks from your father to you, your father’s tax returns, correspondence between you and your father, or notarized affidavits from people who can attest to the relationship.

  • I do not have a Birth Certificate. What other evidence can I submit to show the parental relationship?

If you do not have a Birth Certificate, it creates a presumption of ineligibility and you must prove to the government that the parental relationship indeed exists. Please note that USCIS will check the Department of State’s website to see if a birth certificate is available in your country and will also check what is an acceptable secondary evidence for your country.

If your birth certificate does not exist, you must submit evidence showing that the birth certificate does not exist. You will have to submit an original written statement on a government letterhead explaining why the record does not exist and indicating whether similar records for the time and place are available. Please note that if the Department of State’s reciprocity schedule indicates that a birth certificate is not available in your country, you do not have to get a letter from the government. In addition, you will have to submit a secondary evidence (such as church or school records) to prove the parental relationship.

If the secondary evidence does not exist (or if you can’t obtain it), you will have to submit evidence showing that the secondary evidence does not exist and submit 2 or more affidavits from people who have direct personal knowledge about the parental relationship.

Please see our blog post discussing the procedure when sponsoring your immediate relatives for a green card when you click here.

Please see our blog post on how to maintain a green card when you click here.

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