Immigration Lawyer Ari Sauer – The Immigration Answer Man

Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.

I am an 18 year old US Citizen My parents have been in the US more than 21 years. Can I petition for them to get green cards?

Question: I am a US Citizen. I am 18 years old. My parents are out of status and have been in the US more than 21 years. Can I petition for them to legalize their status without them having to leave the US?

Answer: If you are 18, then you cannot petition for your parents. US citizens must be 21 or older to file immigrant visa petitions for their parents.


If your parents entered the US with a visa, border crossing card, as part of the Visa Waiver Program, or in some other valid manner, then when you are 21 you can petition for them and they can apply for a green card without leaving the US.

If your parents entered across the border without being inspected then it becomes more complicated. If they had a petition filed for them by the end of April of 2001, then they might fall within one of the previous “amnesties” under INA Section 245(i), and then they may be able to apply for a green card in the US based upon your petition.

If a petition has never previously been filed for them, they most likely would have to go back to their home country to apply for a visa at the US consular post. However, because they have been unlawfully present in the US for more than a year, if they leave the US, they will not be eligible to get a visa to return to the US for 10 years. A waiver of this 10 year bar would only be available if your parents have a US citizen or US Permanent Resident parent or spouse, and they can show that their parent or spouse will suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted. The waiver is not available on the basis of having a US citizen or US permanent resident child.

However, since your parents have been in the US more than 10 years, and have a US citizen child, they may be eligible for the relief of Cancellation of Removal should the US government try to remove them from them US. However, the requirements of Cancellation of Removal is a complicated topic which will have to wait for a different posting.

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28 comments on “I am an 18 year old US Citizen My parents have been in the US more than 21 years. Can I petition for them to get green cards?

  1. Lali
    September 6, 2017

    Hello i have a two question to ask you,

    I am a 18 year old and my sister is 16 year old my father became U.S Citizenship when i was 10 year old and my sister was 8 year old, but then he pass away after one year when he got his U.S citizenship. Am I eligible and my sister to become a U,S resident or a green card holder?

    My grandfather has been a U.S Citizenship for twenty five year now and my mother want to become a U.S Citizen or U.S resident can my grandfather grant her daughter to become a U.S Citizen or a U.S resident?

    • Lali, I can’t answer your question without first having a full consultation appointment with you to find out you and your family’s full immigration history, so I can determine if there are any options available to help you.
      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment with me to discuss this further, or to hire me to handle you case, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. The views and statements expressed on this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Siskind Susser law firm. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed.

  2. Adrian
    August 24, 2017

    Hi, I’m a 20 year old U.S. citizen born in Oregon and I was wondering if I could start the process to petition for my mother or would I have to wait until I’m 21?

    • You can start preparing the application, but you cannot file the petition for your mother before your 21st birthday.

      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  3. Art
    June 9, 2017

    Hello I am a 24-year-old U.S. citizen and I want to sponsor my 59 year old Mother who is a green card holder for her citizenship. She is currently living in California and has lived legally in the U.S for 19 years. She is intimidated by the test since she is not very fluent in English and although she studies the practice questions she struggles memorizing the answers. Can I petition for her citizenship or does she have to do it on her own?

    • You can help her to fill out her application, if that is what you are asking. But she has to file her own application for naturalization. You can’t “sponsor” her for citizenship. You say she has been living legally in the US for 19 years, but you don’t say whether she has been a permanent resident (green card holder) for that long. Someone who is at least 55 years old and has been living in the US for at least 15 years as a permanent resident (green card holder), or someone who is at least 50 years old and has been living in the US for at least 20 years as a permanent resident, is not required to be able to speak, read, or write in English. Someone who is eligible for an exemption from the English requirement is allowed to have a translator at their naturalization interview.

      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  4. lara
    March 24, 2017

    Hi, I am writing here since I couldn’t find an answer to my question anywhere. I turned 18 five months ago and we live in europe. I was wondering how I could get my parents to have greencards. I am a US citizen born in Missouri. Can I apply for their greencards now? There is literally no clear answer anywhere. Thank you

    • Unfortunately, US citizens cannot file a petition to sponsor their parents for US permanent resident (green card) until they are 21 years old or older.

      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  5. Alex Douglas
    March 8, 2017

    i am 18 years old and from england we have lived in the us for around 8 years now and my mom has a work visa. This only allows my mom to work and not the rest of the family. This is very frustrating for me because i cant get a job to pay for collage or buy a car. how do i apply for my own visa or get a green card. most of my family are not us citizens only my uncle who married a us citizen. How do i get a visa or a green card as soon as possible to start being able to take care of my self and not having to rely on my parents please help me.

    • Alex. I do not have enough information about the situation to be able to answer this question. Each visa category has very specific requirements. You would need to have a full consultation with me or another experienced immigration lawyer before someone could tell you what options, if any, are available for you to obtain work authorization or to switch visa categories.
      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  6. yonauri
    February 24, 2017

    Im 22 years old, I came to the United States when I was 10 years old, by my father, who’s a US citizen. My question is, Do I have to fill out an application since Im not under age??

    • I do not have enough information about the situation to be able to answer this question. It is unclear from your question what status you have been in and what immigration benefit you would like to apply for. I recommend you have a full consultation with me or another experienced immigration lawyer before someone could tell you what options, if any, are available for you.
      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  7. dbalencar
    February 1, 2017

    Hi, I’m a Software Engineer and I have lived and worked legally in the US back in 2000/2001 under a J-1 visa. My daughter was born in Dallas/TX in 2001. I’m currently working for an American Multinational Company in Ireland. There is a possibility to get a L1 (maybe even a H1-B) visa through my employer for relocation to the US, with my whole family. I’d like to know if my daughter, once she turns 21 of course, can apply for our Greencard, even though she will still be living under my expenses and not working, probably in college then.

    • A US citizen who is 21 can petition for their parents for permanent residence (green card), as explained above. However, all family-based immigrant petitions (Form I-130) will eventually require the Petitioner to submit an I-864 Affidavit of Support when the beneficiary foreign national applies for the Immigrant Visa or Adjustment of Status to become a permanent resident. So if the US citizen child is not employed and filing US federal income tax returns at the point when the foreign national parent is ready to file the Immigrant Visa application or application for Adjustment of Status, they will require a co-sponsor to file an I-864 Affidavit of Support as well.
      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  8. Al
    January 31, 2017

    Why is the age 21 instead 18?

    18 years old are considered adults, and 21 is just for drinking. Are they just trying to make things more difficult?
    Has been any effort to change this law and use 18 years old as mark?

    • Al, That is how Congress created the law. 21 when petitioning for parents, 18 when petitioning for anyone else. Congress was worried about situations where someone had a child in the US so that the child would be a US citizen and then could eventually petition for them. So they made the age 21 to petition for parents. I agree with you that it is unfair that Congress did that, but it is within their power to do so. If you would like to see the law changed, then you should contact your Senators and Congressman and urge them to change the age to 18, and you should encourage everyone you know to do as well. If enough people call their Senators and Congressman, then they would change it. At this point, though, on the list of things that we need changed in the US immigration laws, most people would say that one is pretty far down the list.

  9. Alondra Torres
    November 30, 2016

    I am a 21-year-old U.S. citizen and I want to sponsor both my parents for a green card. They both currently live in Mexico, but they have lived illegally in the U.S. before; they did not they entered legally. I have been looking into Consular Processing and I am aware of form I-130. On form I-130, question c. 13 asked if my parent has lived in the U.S. before. I am afraid to put yes ( know there is no other option), as they never entered the U.S. with visas (immigration history). If I file will they not be eligible to get a visa to return to the US for 10 years?

    • Alondra, I cannot answer questions here that are specific to someone’s particular situation. I don’t know enough about your parents’ situation to say what they can or cannot do. To answer your question generally, you do have to answer the questions on the I-130 honestly. If your parents are subject to a 3-year bar or 10-year bar for unlawful presence [INA 212(a)(9)(B)] the fact that you file an I-130 or do not file an I-130 does not change that fact. When they apply for the immigrant visa, they will have to honestly answer the question as to whether they have ever been in the US. Also, if you are a US citizen because you were born in the US, then that fact itself is enough for the US government to figure out that your mother has been to the US before. I recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before you do anything, so that you can get the answer to this question as it applies specifically to your parents, as well as to see what options may be available to them.
      If you would like to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your situation with attorney Ari Sauer, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal Jessica can assist you with scheduling an appointment.
      * Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. This is an advertisement. On this page we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This page is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed. https://goo.gl/N9sBtY

  10. Marcia D.
    November 22, 2016

    I am 21 and I want to apply for my parents green card They have been in the US working with a workers permit BUT they did enter the US illegally. Would they have to leave the country? If so how long?

  11. K. Larbi
    August 23, 2016

    I am 19 years old can I apply for US Green Card

    • I am sorry, but it is not clear what your question is. I need you to provide more information about what your questions is. Also, I probably would need a lot more information about your situation before I could possibly answer your question. You can try clarifying your question here, or you can contact me to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your issue.
      f you would like to have a consultation appointment with me to discuss your question, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal, Jessica, can help you to schedule an appointment.
      * This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. http://www.visalaw.com/ari.html. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed.

  12. Anonymous
    June 16, 2016

    sadd

  13. Anonymous
    May 18, 2016

    I’ve been in America since 2007 under a military visa A-2. I have 3 children who were born in the U.S the oldest child is 18 years old. Would there be any chance to get issued a green card if the 18 year old is holding a small business and is paying taxes.

    • Your child will not be able to sponsor you for permanent residence (green card) until she turns 21. The fact that they have a small business and pay taxes is not relevant. If you cannot wait until then, then I would suggest having a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer about whether you might be eligible to apply for permanent residence based on a National Interest Waiver or on another basis.
      If you would like to have a consultation appointment with me to learn more about this, you can call 901-507-4270, and my paralegal, Jessica, can help you to schedule an appointment.

      * This is an advertisement. Ari Sauer is a Memphis immigration lawyer with the Siskind Susser law firm. http://www.visalaw.com/ari.html. On this blog we answer questions as a service to our readers, but we cannot assume any liability related to reliance on anything herein, and responses to questions are not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Immigration laws and regulations are constantly changing and the rules stated may not apply to your situation. Readers are cautioned to schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer before acting on anything stated in this blog. This blog is not intended to substitute for a consultation with a qualified immigration law attorney. Ari Sauer is licensed to practice law through the states of Tennessee, New York and New Jersey but is eligible to assist clients from throughout the US. Certification as an Immigration Specialist is not currently available in Tennessee, New York or New Jersey. Siskind Susser limits its practice strictly to immigration law, a Federal practice area, and we do not claim expertise in the laws of states other than where our attorneys are licensed.

  14. Anonymous
    February 22, 2016

    Can a 18 year old student get a residency card?

  15. R. McGowan
    December 13, 2015

    My friend was born here in the U.S. Her parents had legal status but never became citizens, they made her move to Germany but she will be coming back alone this summer to visit me, she is 17 and does not want to go back to Germany, can her parents force her once she is here? And if she stays with my family can we get in trouble?

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This entry was posted on August 28, 2009 by in Uncategorized.
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