Parent Green Card: Avoid These Top 3 Mistakes!

Getting US citizenship is fantastic because you can help your parents get green cards. But, there are common mistakes people make. We'll break down the top three parent green card mistakes and tell you why you should steer clear of them!

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Mistake 1: Treating a Green Card like a Tourist Visa

Some think parent green cards are like a supercharged tourist visa. But, a tourist visa is for short trips, while a green card means your parents can live in the US permanently. Remember this before applying for one!

Mistake 2: Confusing Travel Rights

Some also mistakenly believe that green card holders have the same travel privileges as US citizens. This is not true. Green card holders must mostly live in the US, and long trips can cause issues. Unlike citizens, they have to meet residency rules.

Parent Green Card: Tips for Keeping Permanent Residency Status:

Following these tips will protect your parent’s green card status, allowing your parent to enjoy living in the US. Always stay informed and take proactive measures.

  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with US immigration laws and regulations.
  • Avoid Lengthy Absences: Prolonged trips abroad can risk permanent residency status.
  • File Taxes Annually: Even if income is below the threshold, it's a requirement for green card holders.
  • Update Address Promptly: Notify US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any address change within 10 days using Form AR-11.
  • Avoid Criminal Activities: Certain offenses can lead to green card revocation.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consult an immigration lawyer for personalized guidance.

Mistake 3: Green Card without US Residency Intent

A major mistake is applying for a green card without the genuine intention for your parents to live in the United States. Some may mistakenly think it's for future visits. But, once approved, parents have six months to enter the US and stay in the country.

Parent Green Card Common Objections 

Below, we address some of the most common concerns and provide effective strategies to tackle them. The following answers to common objections will set your worries at rest.

Get essential tips for securing a green card for your parents. Get expert parent green card guidance and avoid the top three common mistakes.

1. Is This a New Rule?

No, it has been a longstanding regulation for legal permanent residents to exclusively live in the US.

2. I Know People With Green Cards Who Freely Travel

It may work in the short term, but it might lead to significant complications in the future. We recommend avoiding this risk altogether. 

3. What's the Maximum Time Allowed Outside the US?

If you’re already concerned about this, a green card may not be the most suitable option. Generally, green card holders should allocate the majority of their time to reside in the United States.

Final Thoughts and Action Steps

Securing a green card for your parents is a journey. Knowing the parent green card process well and avoiding mistakes will make it smoother.

If you're still unsure about certain aspects or have specific questions, don't hesitate to reach out. 

Take advantage of our online quiz. Finish it to unlock a free session where we'll discuss your situation and guide you on the best way forward.

Remember, your journey towards securing a parent green card is a significant milestone. Take the next step for your loved ones' brighter future. Our team is here to support you at every step!


This section is here to provide you with the additional answers and guidance you're seeking about getting a parent green card. Just remember, every situation is unique. Chat with one of our US immigration experts for personalized advice. 

1. Can I apply for a green card for my parents if I have permanent resident immigration status?

You can only sponsor your parents for a green card when you’re a US citizen. This application falls under the Immediate Relatives category. 

2. Which documents does the parent green card application process require?

Key documents include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
  • Birth certificates for both you and your parents.
  • Proof of your US citizenship status.
  • Evidence of your relationship with your parents.
  • Marriage certificates, if applicable.

If your parent is in the US and meets specific requirements, they can apply using Form I-485 for permanent residence/adjustment of status. This process will allow them to apply for a green card without leaving the United States.

3. How long does the parent green card application process typically take?

Getting a green card takes time. It can range from several months to over a year. USCIS processing times and the complexity of your case are the key influencing factors.

4. Can my parents visit the US while their green card application is pending?

Your parents can visit the US while their green card application is in progress. They should follow their visitor visa terms. Long stays might prompt questions about their plans to stay permanently.

5. The parent green card application process requires which documents?

When a parent’s green card application is denied, you have options. You can either appeal the decision or reapply. You can also address any issues that led to the denial. Talking to a US immigration attorney is a good idea for the right steps to take.

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