The Difficulty of Parent Care When You Can’t Be There

daughter smiling at her aging mother

Providing care to an aging or ill parent can be complicated when they live in another country. Although it is reassuring to hear their voice on the phone, there are just so many things that must be attended to in person. This is especially true if your parents are struggling with a serious health condition or may no longer be able to live independently without professional assistance. For many adult children providing care to their parent, the best solution is to bring them to the United States so that they can be closer. Here is how to navigate through the process of obtaining a green card for your parents, so that you can always be available to help them stay healthy and safe.

1. Discuss Moving with Your Parents: Before you can initiate the process of bringing your parents to the United States, they must be willing to relocate. Begin by choosing a time when they will be receptive to hearing your ideas such as when they are well-rested. If they are hesitant to leave their home, share some of the benefits that you have enjoyed while living in your new country. It may also be helpful to have other family members join the conversation so that your parent knows they will be surrounded by support.

2. Decide Where They Will Live: Once you have your parents’ agreement, you will need to decide upon their living arrangements. If they are able to live independently, then you will need to find an apartment or home that is manageable. For those who need special care, you may set up a space in your own home or consider a residential facility for senior adults. Be sure to include your parents in the plans so that they know what to expect upon their arrival to the United States.

3. Gather Important Documents: To apply for your parents’ green card, you will need to supply documents that prove your relationship. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, these documents will include Form I-130, a copy of your birth certificate with your mother’s name. If your father’s name is not included on your birth certificate and he will be applying for a green card, then you will also need a copy of your parents’ civil marriage certificate. Those who were born out of wedlock may supply proof of an emotional or financial bond in lieu of a marriage certificate.

4. File Your Petition: After you have gathered proof of your relationship, you will be ready to complete your Form I-130 and file your petition. Filing is as simple as mailing your form and copies of all requested legal documents to the address listed on the Form I-130 along with the designated fee. After you have submitted the form, you will then be notified within a short period of time whether your application has been denied or approved. If it is approved, then you will be given instructions for completing your parents’ visa processing. In instances of denial, you will be provided with information about how to appeal and the length of time you have to appeal the decision.

When caring for your parent has become complicated due to living abroad, applying for their green card can offer many benefits for the entire family. By initiating the process as soon as possible, you can be on your way to providing your parents’ with a healthier and safer lifestyle under your direct care.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who are caring for their own parents.

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