How to Apply for an Unlawful Parent in the United States as a 21-Year-Old U.S. Citizen Child in 8 Simple Steps


Applying for lawful status for an undocumented parent can be a complex and challenging process, but it’s possible under certain circumstances. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to apply for an unlawful parent in the United States as a 21-year-old U.S. citizen child. While this process can vary based on individual circumstances, we’ll provide a general overview to help you get started.

8 Steps You May Undergo For This Process

Steps to Apply for an Unlawful Parent in the US

Step 1: Determine Eligibility of Your Unlawful Parent

Before proceeding with any application, it’s crucial to understand whether your parent is eligible for legal status in the United States. Eligibility criteria can vary depending on the parent’s current immigration status and other factors. In this case, we assume your parent is unlawfully present in the U.S.

  • To be eligible to apply for your parent, you must meet the following criteria:
  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Your parent must be in the United States.

Step 2: File an I-130 Petition

To initiate the process, you’ll need to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of your unlawful parent. This form establishes the familial relationship between you and your parent and demonstrates your intent to sponsor them. Here’s how to complete this step:

  • Download and fill out Form I-130 from the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
  • Pay the required filing fee, which can change over time, so check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.
  • Include supporting documentation, such as a copy of your birth certificate proving your U.S. citizenship, and proof of your parent’s identity and relationship to you (e.g., their birth certificate).
  • Mail the completed I-130 form and all supporting documents to the appropriate USCIS address.

Step 3: Wait for USCIS Processing

After submitting the I-130 petition, USCIS will review your application and conduct background checks. The processing time can vary, so be patient and check USCIS’s processing time estimates on their website. You can also check the status of your case online.

Step 4: Attend a Visa Interview

Once the I-130 petition is approved, USCIS will forward the case to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will assign a case number and process fees for your parent. They will also request additional documentation and forms. Your parent will be required to attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

Step 5: Apply for an I-601A Provisional Waiver (Optional)

If your parent has accrued unlawful presence in the U.S. for more than 180 days but less than one year, they may need to apply for an I-601A Provisional Waiver before attending the visa interview. This waiver helps avoid a long-term bar from re-entering the U.S. Consult with an immigration attorney to determine if this is necessary in your parent’s case.

Step 6: Attend the Visa Interview

Your parent will attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. They must bring all required documentation, including their medical examination results, police clearance certificate, and proof of financial support (if applicable).

Step 7: Wait for Visa Approval

After a successful visa interview, your parent will receive an immigrant visa to enter the United States. It’s essential to note that the actual immigration process may take some time.

Step 8: Your Parent’s Arrival in the U.S.

Once your parent arrives in the United States with the immigrant visa, they will be admitted as a lawful permanent resident (LPR) and can apply for a green card.


Applying for lawful status for an unlawful parent as a 21-year-old U.S. citizen child can be a lengthy and complex process. However, the benefits it can give to your beloved parent and ultimately your own family are massive. So if your parent/s can qualify for this type of immigration process, it is best to ensure that your application will be handled by experts such as an immigration lawyer based and licensed to practice in the U.S. Considering the paperwork, the circumstances which are always unique from others’, and the legal aspects of the application process, seeking professional legal assistance is a must.

If you think your parent can potentially apply or if you are still unsure whether your parent qualifies for it, the first step is to learn more about it through a free case evaluation. Qazi Law Offices has been assisting immigrant families and individuals with their legal paperwork, work permits, and visas. Call 630 504-0648 to get your free case evaluation from us today or click here to book a consultation with us!

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