What is Form I-130?
Form I-130, officially known as the “Petition for Alien Relative,” is a form issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to petition for certain eligible relatives to immigrate to the United States. The primary purpose of Form I-130 is to establish the qualifying relationship between the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or green card holder) and the beneficiary (the foreign relative seeking to immigrate).
The I-130 petition is the first step in the family-based immigration process. It’s used to sponsor various categories of family members for immigration to the U.S., including:
- Immediate Relatives: This category includes spouses of U.S. citizens, unmarried children under the age of 21 of U.S. citizens, and parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older.
- Family Preference Categories: This includes other family members such as unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their minor children, spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents, and married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and children.
The process generally involves the following steps:
- The petitioner submits Form I-130 to USCIS along with the required supporting documentation and fees.
- USCIS reviews the petition and supporting documents to determine if the petitioner and beneficiary meet the eligibility requirements.
- If the petition is approved, USCIS will send a Notice of Approval (Form I-797) to the petitioner and forward the case to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing, unless the beneficiary is already in the U.S. and eligible for Adjustment of Status.
- If the beneficiary is outside the U.S., the NVC will coordinate the visa application process with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the beneficiary’s home country.
- The beneficiary will attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and if approved, will be issued an immigrant visa to travel to the U.S.
- If the beneficiary is already in the U.S., they may be eligible to adjust their status to permanent resident using Form I-485, if they meet certain criteria.
It’s important to note that the specifics of the process can vary based on the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, the category of immigration being sought, and other individual circumstances. Consulting with an immigration attorney or referring to the USCIS website for the most current information and forms is recommended.
Form I-130 filing fee
The filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary based on the petitioner’s relationship to the beneficiary and the petitioner’s immigration status. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here are some general guidelines for the filing fee:
- S. Citizens Filing for Immediate Relatives (Spouse, Parent, Unmarried Child Under 21): The filing fee for Form I-130 was $535.
- S. Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders) Filing for Family Members: The filing fee for Form I-130 was also $535.
It’s important to note that these fees can change over time due to policy updates or fee adjustments by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Additionally, certain exemptions or reduced fees might be available for certain applicants based on their financial situation or military status.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding filing fees, I recommend visiting the official USCIS website or consulting with an immigration attorney who can provide you with the latest fee information and any potential fee waivers that might apply to your specific case. Read more “list your business in the” “free and paid submission to the” “add your site” statistics
Form I-130 checklist of required documents
The required documents for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary depending on the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary, as well as the specific circumstances of the case: https://bwea.com/i-130-form/
However, here is a general checklist of the common documents that are often required to accompany the Form I-130 submission:
- Form I-130: The completed and signed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
- Filing Fee: The appropriate filing fee, paid by check or money order to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or evidence of fee exemption or waiver if applicable.
- Proof of Petitioner’s U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status: For U.S. citizens, this could include a copy of a U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or birth certificate. For permanent residents, a copy of both sides of the green card is typically required.
- Proof of Relationship: Documents demonstrating the qualifying relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. This could include:
- Marriage certificate for spouses.
- Birth certificates for parents and children.
- Evidence of legal custody or adoption if applicable.
- Passport-Style Photos: Passport-style photos of both the petitioner and the beneficiary, following USCIS photo requirements.
- Evidence of Legally Changed Names: If either the petitioner or beneficiary has changed their name legally, documents reflecting the name change should be included.
- Translation of Documents: If any of the supporting documents are not in English, include certified translations.
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): For certain family-sponsored immigrants, the petitioner might need to submit an Affidavit of Support, showing their ability to financially support the beneficiary.
- Proof of Marital Union (For Spouses): Evidence showing that a genuine and ongoing marital relationship exists, such as joint bank accounts, property ownership, photographs, and affidavits from family and friends.
- Passport Copies (For Beneficiary): Copies of passport pages showing biographical information and entry stamps into the United States (if applicable).
- Prior Marriage and Divorce Documentation (If Applicable): If either the petitioner or beneficiary has been married previously, documents related to prior marriages and any divorce decrees should be included.
- Criminal Records and Waivers (If Applicable): If the beneficiary has any criminal history or inadmissibility issues, appropriate documentation and waivers might be required.
It’s important to review the USCIS instructions for Form I-130 and any specific guidance provided on the USCIS website for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding required documents. Additionally, consulting with an immigration attorney can help ensure that you submit the correct documentation for your specific case.