How can an american citizen child over 21 make a family petition for its parents without legal status in the US?

October 7,2021


It is time to explain to you all about the family petition that a child over 21 years old can make for their parents a Family Petition  without legal status in the United States. There are many variables and factors that can determine whether the parent is eligible for an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. 

What requirements does a child need to be able to file a I-130 petition for their parents?

This are general requirements for any citizen child who may be interested on file a I-130 petition, however other documents may be required according to the specific case of each petitioner.

  • Be an American citizen
  • Be over 21 years old at the time of filing the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Birth certificate showing your full name and the names of your parents.
  • Civil marriage certificate of the parents / or divorce / or adoption certificate.
  • Show that you have sufficient financial resources to be your parent’s sponsor.

Can a child make a petition for its adoptive parents?

Yes. In fact, a child can ask for his parents under the following scenarios:

  • Child born out of wedlock not recognized by the father.
  • Child born out of wedlock recognized by the father.
  • Child who wishes to ask for they step-mother / step-father
  • Child of adoptive parents
  • Child of undocumented parents
  • Child member of the Armed Forces

Can a citizen child make a petition for parents and siblings?

Yes. But the applications must go separately. It is important to mention that the waiting times will be different for each family member depending on the relationship they have with the petitioner. Parent requests will take less time than sibling requests and will have different requirements.

What if a child does not have the resources to be a sponsor?

Applications for permanent residence for parents in the United States require the petitioner to act as a sponsor, that is, to demonstrate the minimum income  to support their parents in the United States.

When the petitioner (in this case a child) does not earn the required minimum ($ 21,775 per year for 2 people), another family member is allowed to contribute as a co-sponsor. It can be the spouse, an adult child, the father or a brother who lives in the same address or even someone who is not part of the family and who does not live under the same roof.


Once the general scenario is defined by the petitioning child, now it is necessary to analyze the eligibility of the parents, especially when they do not have a legal status within the United States.

What is the process for parents who are undocumented?

There are two scenarios:

  1. You are currently in the US illegally but entered legally through a port of entry. That is, you were admitted by an immigration officer who stamped your passport.
  2. They are currently in the US illegally and also entered illegally while crossing the border.
  3. You are currently in the US illegally and have entered and exited illegally several times.

For those cases, you must request the Waiver I-601 A  to be exempt from the 10-year penalty, since to apply for permanent residence, you must leave the United States to attend the consulate office.

What is the Waiver I-601 A and who qualifies?

The Weiver I-601 A  is an opportunity to be forgiven for the 10-year punishment imposed on a person who has been living under the “illegal” scheme within the United States. This punishment is imposed on that person at the time leaves the country; however, with the authorized waiver, that person will be exempted from that penalty.

Now, not everyone qualifies to apply for the Waiver I-601A. The basic requirements to apply are:

  • Be over 17 years old
  • Have an approved I-130 family petition
  • Have a spouse or parents who are legal residents or US citizens.



BEFORE to make a Family Petition I-130 from a child over  21 year old, make sure the parent as the child  are elegible with an immigration attorney.

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This article is only for information purposes and does not represent a legal consult. 

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