Citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States are granted several privileges, such as being able to sponsor their family members to come to the U.S. However, these privileges do not come without limitations. There are only certain types of family members one can sponsor, depending on their status in the United States.
Can a Green Card Holder Sponsor Their Parents?
Green card holders only have lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. and are not citizens. Their sponsorship capacity is more limited compared to U.S. citizens. Green card holders can only sponsor their spouse and unmarried children or the F2A and F2B visa categories respectively. Unfortunately, they cannot sponsor their parents.
Who Can Sponsor Their Parents?
Only U.S. citizens are eligible to sponsor their parents to immigrate to the United States. So green card holders should consider starting their application for U.S. citizenship. This process can take three to five years, but the very next day after receiving their citizenship, they will be able to start the sponsorship process for their parents.
The Visa Bulletin has more information on which family members green card holders and U.S. citizens are able to sponsor.
What a Green Card Holder Can Do To Invite Their Parents To the U.S.
Although lawful permanent residents are not eligible to sponsor their parents for U.S. green cards, they can still invite them to the country by means of a visitor visa. While visitor visas are hard to get, a green card holder can provide their parents with a letter of invitation to increase their chances of getting approved.
A letter of invitation must express that the green card holder or lawful permanent resident is inviting their parents to the U.S. for a legitimate reason. Showing a clear reason for wanting them to visit the U.S., the letter of invitation can be very helpful in the process of obtaining a visitor visa.