"I WOULD appreciate if you can point me in the correct direction as to getting additional information or some more resources towards getting my mother legally to the U.S. so I can look after her better. I am a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"I am having tremendous difficulty with the Irish government, the local hospital and legal issues regarding property and power of attorney and it has dragged on for months now."

"I WOULD like to bring my father to the U.S. for medical treatment for a back ailment he has had for several years. I do not have any idea how to go about doing so, and what hospitals here would require. Do you have any suggestions?"

THE above two questions are somewhat related, so we'll take them as one.

To the first questioner, you don't say if you want your mother to live here on a full-time basis, or if you want her to obtain medical treatment and then return home. As you're an American citizen, though, you certainly have options.

If you want her to reside here permanently, you can sponsor her for a green card as an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen, which means you can avoid the over-subscribed relative preference categories which are bound by annual numerical limitations. Qualified immediate relatives can immigrate to the U.S. in unlimited numbers each year, once all the requisite processing has been completed.

You should visit www.uscis.gov for more information on how to get the process going, and also the American Embassy's website in Dublin, www.dublin.usembassy.gov. You will have to file the relevant paperwork from your end, and though you don't say where in the U.S. you live, you should expect a wait of several months before your mother's case would be processed.

Issues concerning local Irish hospitals, power of attorney and other legal matters are beyond the remit of this column. For further guidance you should contact the Irish consulate with jurisdiction over your area; visit www.embassyofireland.org for a list of phone numbers.

As an aside, from personal experience of close Irish relatives caught up in the hospital system over there -- one uncle in particular -- the local member of the Dail (Irish Parliament) was a godsend during a very difficult time for my aunt. Have you tried this route? Hopefully you'll have as much success as my family did, though it's got to be hard trying to navigate such matters from over here.

If you're talking about bringing your mother to the U.S. for medical care, as the second questioner is asking about a father, the process for doing so would be quicker than applying for permanent residency -- weeks as opposed to months - but those who travel here for treatment don't have the right to remain here permanently.

There is no such thing as a U.S. medical visa. Rather, the patient would have to apply for a B-2 visa, reserved for those traveling to the U.S. for pleasure or medical reasons.

The applicant would have to provide a diagnosis from a doctor explaining why U.S. treatment is necessary; a letter from a U.S. doctor or hospital outlining the treatment on offer and the cost; and evidence of financial responsibility concerning the applicant's treatment and other living expenses while in the U.S.

In addition, all other B-2 requirements would have to be satisfied, such as the provision of evidence showing an intent to return home when the treatment has concluded.

For further detail on the B-2 visa process as it relates to medical matters, visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/ types/types_1262.html#10a.