Can I ask my parents if I am married?

In this week's Consulta Migratoria® column I answer a question from a reader who wishes to petition her parents in the future.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on each person's immigration history.

Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before starting any procedure.

This is the column:

I am an American citizen. I am 18 years old. I live abroad and I am planning to get married by civil marriage. I have been told that if I get married it will affect me later to arrange my parents. Is it true? -Maria B.

Maria, you can get married without worry. As a citizen, you can petition your parents whether you are single or married.

You should keep in mind that the law will only allow you to petition for your parents when you turn 21 years old. In other words, you will have to wait three years before you can petition your parents if they meet all the requirements.

The law could change in the next few years. In the past, bills have been proposed in the U.S. Congress that would eliminate the ability of U.S. citizens to petition for permanent residency for their parents.

Under current law, U.S. citizens over the age of 21 who wish to petition for their parents must present evidence of their citizenship and a birth certificate showing their relationship. In addition, parents must show that will not become a public charge in the United States.

If your future spouse is not yet a permanent resident or citizen, as a U.S. citizen you may also petition. There is no age restriction. You can begin the process as soon as you get married. You will need to present evidence of your citizenship, that you are married, that your marriage is bona fide and that your future spouse will not become a public charge in the U.S. when he/she immigrates to the U.S.

Before your future spouse immigrates to the United States, you will need to return to live in the country to reestablish your U.S. residency and file the letter of support (affidavit of support) that is required for this kind of migratory procedure.

Maria, I recommend that you consult with a licensed immigration attorney in the United States before making any immigration arrangements. The attorney will determine your legal options, including whether you will be able to petition for your parents and your future spouse.

For more information and immigration tips, visit my website at Immigration Today.

Send your questions to Include detailed information about your situation to better answer your questions.

Nelson A. Castillo, Esq. is an immigration attorney and author of La Tarjeta Verde: Cómo Obtener la Residencia Permanente en los Estados Unidos (Green Card: How to Obtain Permanent Residence in the United States). He is a former President of the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Westlake South Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. For information on how to consult with Dr. Castillo, click here. click here.

The purpose of this column is to provide general information. There can be no guarantee or prediction as to what will be the outcome of the information presented by Dr. Nelson A. Castillo. The information should not be taken as legal advice for any individual, case or situation. This column may be considered an advertisement under the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys in several states, including California and New York. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any immigration proceedings.