1) I am a US Citizen. My parents (or spouse/spouse-to-be) are in USA on visitors visa. Can I apply for their green card? How does it all work? 2) My parents' I-130 application is currently pending. They are currently living in their home country, India. Can they visit me during the pendency of the green card application? 3) Is it better to apply for adjustment of status or consular processing for the last step of their green card? 4) Updated FAQ - My parent came to US with B1 visa and they are still here. But the visa were expired several years ago. Now I am a citizen, I wonder if I can still apply for green card for them. Could I apply by myself or need to consult with a lawyer?
A1. There is nothing that stops you from applying for their green card. Note also that the same answer applies to children and spouse of a US citizens. But it does NOT apply to brothers/sisters.
There is just one issue. It is INAPPROPRIATE (may be even illegal) for a person to enter USA on a tourist or other similar visa if they have the intent to apply for a green card. BUT, if they enter USA without that intent, and after a few days of entry change their mind, that is perfectly appropriate and legal.
The tricky thing is, intent being a state of mind, can only be inferred from circumstances. If intent ever became an issue, INS may look at how soon after entering a green card was applied. Obviously, the more time has elapsed, the better the case is.
Once the I-130/I-485/I-131/I-765 package is properly filed with INS, your relatives can stay in USA without extending their status. Also, once Form I-131 (Advance Parole) is approved, they are free to leave USA and come back during the pendency of their application. Approximate processing times for these petitions are available on our web site at: http://www.immigration.com/node/1412/
A2. Maybe. If they already have a visitors visa stamp on their passport, they should be able to visit. Chances of INS (CBP) sending them back from the airport are probably small. But if they will be applying for a tourist visa (also known as visitors visa) now, they may be refused the visa by the US consulate because they have exhibited immigrant intent. In that case they will have to wait until they receive their green card approval.
A3. In terms of legal effect - they are both the same.
Consular processing is faster (as of May 2002 taking about 3-5 months to completion).
For persons outside USA, consular processing is the only option. Once the I-485/I-131/I-765 package is properly filed with INS, your relatives can stay in USA without extending their status. Also, once Form I-131 (Advance Parole) is approved, they are free to leave USA and come back during the pendency of their application. Approximate processing times for these petitions are available on our web site. See link in the question above.
A4. As I understand the law, they should be able to get their green card. You should talk with a lawyer.