There are approximately 16.7 million people in the United States who are part of mixed-status families. Mixed Status families are households with at least one undocumented family member.
Out of these 16.7 million people, an estimated 5.9 million are US citizen children of undocumented parents. Now, it is natural for them to wonder if there is a way for them to help their undocumented parent as a US citizen, and we are here to tell you that there are!
Currently, there are three ways for US citizen children to help their undocumented parents obtain status as legal permanent residents in the US. In any case, the children or child must be at least 21 years of age and a US citizen.
What Are the 3 Ways for a US Citizen to Help Their Undocumented Parent or Parents?
Option 1 - Adjust Status After Lawful Entry
It is a common misconception that all undocumented immigrants entered the US without inspection. However, the reality is that many of those who are currently undocumented or “out-of-status” initially entered the US with a valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visa. This means that their entry was lawful even if their authorized stay period ended years ago.
Lawful entry is one of the main requirements to be eligible for a “Green Card” (Permanent Resident Card) in the US. A person must be “inspected, admitted or paroled” to gain permanent residence in the US. If your undocumented parent initially gained lawful entry into the US, then they are eligible to adjust status as an immediate relative of a US citizen even if they are undocumented.
The US citizen child can petition for the Immediate Relative (IR)-5 Visa so their undocumented parent can adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident. They will be required to meet other requirements to gain a Green Card, including clearing all admissibility requirements.
To qualify for adjustment of status through this path, the following requirements must be met:
- The US citizen child must be at least 21 years of age
- The undocumented parent must be able to prove their lawful entry to the US