Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative is a form submitted to the USCIS (or, in the case of Direct Consular Filing, to a US consulate or embassy abroad) by a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident petitioning for an immediate or close relative who is not currently a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident intending to immigrate to the United States.

Note: The person who submits the petition is called the petitioner and the relative on whose behalf the petition is made is called the beneficiary.

Approval of the petition can be used by the beneficiary to obtain a United States visa in the Immediate Relative (IR) or Family-Based Preference (F) category at a US consulate or embassy abroad, and, once the relative has immigrated to the United States, to acquire a Green Card. For relatives already present in the United States it can be used to change status.

For petitions filed by United States citizens, each I-130 petition can for only one beneficiary, so a petitioner seeking to petition for multiple relatives (for instance, a spouse and children) must file separate I-130s for each of them. For lawful permanent residents, an exception is made in the case for the beneficiary’s unmarried children.

I-130, Petition for Alien Relative Form

Form I-130 (PDF)

Instructions for Form I-130 (PDF)

Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (PDF)

What is the Purpose of Form I-130?

For citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States.

Note: Filing and approval of an I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the United States. Eligible family members must still wait until there is a visa number available before they can apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident.

Where to File Form I-130?

File at the Chicago or Phoenix Lockbox, depending on where you live and whether you are also filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The addresses are listed here: Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-130 web page.

If you live outside of the U.S. where USCIS has a foreign office, you may file at the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility or at the USCIS international office in the country in which you reside. If you reside outside of the United States where USCIS does not have an international office, you may file at the U.S. Embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the area where you live only if exceptional circumstances exist and the USCIS Field Office Director with jurisdiction over that location determines that the Embassy or consulate may accept and adjudicate the case. For a list of USCIS international offices and filing instructions please visit http://www.uscis.gov/international.

What is the Filing Fee?

$420 U.S. Dollars

Special Instructions for Form I-130

  • Please read USCIS’s Lockbox Filing Tips.
  • To receive an email or text message when we accept your form, complete Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance and clip it to the front of the petition.
  • If you are filing for your spouse, your petition must be accompanied by a Biographical Form G-325A for you and one for your spouse (not form G-325).
  • For your petition to be accepted, you must:
    • Properly sign the form. As the petitioner, you must sign Part E.
    • Submit the correct filing fee of $420.
    • Complete the entire form. You must complete Part A. You must provide your name, complete address, marital status, and country of birth in Part B; and the beneficiary’s name, complete address, marital status, and country of birth in Part C.
Immigrant Family Arriving in the U.S. Pictured in the Baggage Room of Ellis Island - 1905

Immigrant Family Arriving in the U.S. Pictured in the Baggage Room of Ellis Island – 1905. The U.S. has a long history of accepting immigrants into the country.

Timeline for Approval of an I-130 Petition

Step One: The Receipt Notice

After USCIS receives the visa petition, it will review it to make sure it is completely filled out. If USCIS needs additional documentation, USCIS might either send the whole package back to the petitioner, or send the U.S. Citizen petitioner a letter asking for the additional information

Your receipt notice contains a case number. Look for the receipt number in the upper left-hand corner, which you need to check on the status of your application.

The receipt notice will also inform you how long the application is likely to remain in processing.

Step Two: USCIS Reviews your I-130 Petition

When USCIS has determined that your petition is complete, it will be placed in the queue for review.

Step Three: USCIS Approves Your Case

Upon approval of the I-130, USCIS will notify the petitioner, by sending an official I-130 approval notice, and transfer the file to the appropriate place. Exactly where this is depends on where the immigrant is, and whether the immigrant will be applying for the green card through the process known as Adjustment of Status (which takes place in the U.S.) or consular processing (overseas consulate).

If the immigrant intends to adjust status, USCIS will wait for the immigrant to take the next step to file the appropriate paperwork with USCIS, including a copy of the I-130 approval notice. A few months later USCIS will interview the immigrant and then decide whether to issue a green card.

If the immigrant uses consular processing, the National Visa Center (NVC) will send the immigrant  paperwork, after which the immigrant will attend an interview at a U.S. consulate in his or her home country, where a decision will be made on the green card.

If the immigrant is a preference relative who must wait for an available visa, the file will remain with the NVC for many years, waiting until the Priority Date becomes current. It is very important that both the petitioner and the immigrant advise the NVC of any changes of address during this time.

How Long Does it Take for an I-130 Petition to be Approved?

The processing times for an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative depend on a number of factors, most notably how busy the office handling your petition is. Waits of several weeks or months are typical. The review involves scrutinizing your documents to make sure that, for example, the U.S. citizen’s passport is the real thing, and the immigrant’s birth certificate contains all the official government certifications that would be expected from the immigrant’s home country.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Having an approved I-130 does not, by itself, give the immigrant any right to come to, or remain in, the United States.

Preparing an I-130 Visa Petition for the Immigrating Spouse of U.S. Citizen

Step-by-Step Instructions for Form I-130 Visa Petition

Also, download and save this page: Instructions for Form I-130 (PDF).

Form I-130 is one of the most important ones in an immigrating spouse’s immigration process. It will be the first opportunity to explain who each of you are, where you live, and why the immigrant qualifies for a U.S. visa and residence.

The first thing to notice about Form I-130 is that it runs in two columns. The left column, or Part B, asks for information about the petitioner. The right column asks for information about the immigrant, referred to as “your relative”.

Part A – The Relationship

Question 1: Check the first box, Husband/Wife.

Question 2: This question, about whether you’re related by adoption, is meant for people who use this form to petition for an adopted child.

Question 3: If you, the petitioner gained permanent residence through adoption (that is, immigrated to the United States before becoming a citizen), check Yes.

Part B  – The Petitioner

Question 1: The petitioner must enter his/her last name (surname) in capital letters, but the first and middle name in small letters. For example, Atticus C. Finch would write FINCH, Atticus C.

Questions 2-5: Simply enter address, date of birth, place of birth, and gender.

Question 6: This refers only to the petitioners most recent marital status, so check married even if there was a previous divorce.

Question 7: Include any first or last names by which you have been commonly known, and which may be on paperwork that you might eventually submit to authorities.

Questions 8-9: Simply enter date and place of recent marriage, and social security number.

Question 10: A United States citizen would simply put not applicable, or N/A in this spot, even if you were once a lawful permanent resident and previously had an Alien Registration Number.

Question 11: Add the names of any prior husbands and wives, for example where the relationship ended in annulment, divorce, or death.

Question 12: This question of when the petitioner’s prior marriage ended is intended to make sure a current marriage is valid. If prior marriages ended after your present marriage began, then obviously the present marriage is not a lawful marriage.

Question 13: If the petitioner is a naturalized U.S. citizen (meaning not born a U.S. citizen or granted the status via parents), this number can be found on the naturalization certificate.

Question 14 a: U.S. citizens may simply write not applicable, or N/A, at this spot.

Question 14 b: If you check “yes” here, indicating that you received U.S. permanent residence through marriage, calculate how long it’s been since your approval for permanent residence. A petitioning spouse who immigrated through marriage cannot petition a new spouse for five years, unless the first spouse died or the petitioning spouse can prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the previous marriage was real. USCIS wants to make sure your first marriage was not a sham. If you need to prove to USCIS that your previous marriage was not fake you’ll need to show evidence that you and your former spouse shared a life together and provide things like shared rental agreements mortgage notes, utility bills, insurance agreements, and life insurance policies, etc. If you have a situation like this it is in your best interest to visit an immigration attorney. You can contact Don Chairez in the upper right hand corner of this page to schedule a consultation.

Part C – The Immigrant:

Question 1: Current name, with last name in capital letters.

Questions 2-5: Simply enter address, date of birth, place of birth, and gender.

Question 6: Current marital status only.

Question 7-8: Simply enter previous names used, date and place of recent marriage, and social security number.

Question 9: The immigrant won’t have a Social Security number until he or she has lived in the United States and had a work permit, a visa allowing work, or U.S. residence. Simply write not applicable or N/A if the immigrant does not have a social security number.

Question 10: The Alien Registration Number is an eight- or nine-digit number following a letter A that USCIS would have assigned to the immigrant the immigrant had previously applied for permanent or temporary residence. Of course, if that previous application was denied because the immigrant was inadmissible or lied on that application, you need to contact Don Chairez using the phone number on the upper right hand corner of this page.

Question 11: Add the names of any prior husbands and wives, for example where the relationship ended in annulment, divorce, or death.

Question 12: This question of when the petitioner’s prior marriage ended is intended to make sure a current marriage is valid. If prior marriages ended after your present marriage began, then obviously the present marriage is not a lawful marriage.

Question 13: It is important to state whether the intending immigrant has been in the U.S., because certain types of negative immigration history may affect eligibility for a green card or other types of admission to the U.S.

Question 14: Enter N/A if the immigrant is living outside the United States. If living inside the U.S., please explain how the immigrant arrived, for example as a visitor, H-1B worker, or on the Visa Waiver Program. If arrival was “without inspection,” contact Don Chairez immediately (888) 627-9996 to schedule a consultation. It is very likely the immigrant’s unlawful presence in the U.S. will make the immigrant inadmissible unless a waiver is available.

Question 15: Enter the employer’s name and address.

Question 16: If the immigrant has been placed in Immigration Court proceedings, contact Don Chairez immediately (888) 627-9996.

Question 17: This is the continuation of Part C, so all questions still refer to the immigrant beneficiary. List only the immigrant’s children, if any. This means all children, including any by previous relationships.

Question 18: Simply enter the address where the immigrant intends to live in the U.S.

Question 19: If the immigrant is in the U.S. and no longer has an overseas address, enter not applicable, or N/A, in this section.

Question 20: If the immigrant’s native language uses a non-Roman script (for example, Russian, Chinese, or Arabic), write the name and address in that script.

Question 21: If you have ever lived together, put the last address here. If not, enter not applicable or N/A. in this section.

Question 22: This question is only for immigrants who are already living in the U.S. and planning to apply for adjustment of status. Out of an abundance of caution you will also need to list the consulate in the immigrant’s home country. USCIS will figure out which consulate your case will be sent to, based on where the immigrant lives and which of the State Department’s consulates in that country handle immigrant visas. If the country listed doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the United States, USCIS will locate a consulate in a nearby country to handle the case.  This question is handled differently if applying for a K-3 visa. K-3 applicants need to apply through the consulate in the country where the wedding was held or, if it was held in the U.S., in the country of the immigrant’s residence.

Part D –  Other Information

For the petitioner

Question 1: This refers to other petitions being submitted simultaneously, (for example, for children from this or other marriages), so that USCIS can process the petitions together.

Question 2: This question is meant to uncover the history (if any) of petitioning other immigrants to come to the United States. A petitioning spouse who has a history of short marriages to people whom he or she then helped to obtain green cards can expect a marriage fraud investigation.

Signature Line E: The U.S. citizen signs here.

Signature Line F: Signature of person preparing form if other than the petitioner. If the immigrant or spouse is filling this application unassisted, write not applicable at this spot. The only people who need to complete this line are lawyers or agencies who fill out these forms on someone else’s behalf.

Documents to Prepare for Visa Petition

The I-130 visa petition requires the U.S. citizen petitioner to submit supporting documents and payment along with the form. You are not finished with the visa petition until you have gathered:

  • Proof of U.S. citizen status of petitioning spouse. Depending on how the petitioning spouse became a citizen, make a copy of a birth certificate, passport, certificate of naturalization, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA, or Form FS-240).
  • Proof that you are legally married. This should include at a minimum a copy of your marriage certificate, most likely from a government source. In addition, if either you or your spouse have been previously married, you must include proof that these marriages were terminated, such as a copy of a death, divorce, or annulment certificate.
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information. One needs to be filled out by the U.S. citizen petitioner, and one by the immigrant.
  • Photos. Attach one passport-style photo of each of you to your respective Form G-325A. The photos should be in color, 2 × 2 inches in size, taken within the past six months, showing your current appearance. “Passport style” means that the photo shows your full face from the front, with a plain white or off-white background; and your face must measure between one inch and 1 3/8 inches from the bottom of your chin to the top of your head. USCIS regulations permit you to submit a photo that doesn’t completely follow the instructions if you live in a country where such photographs are unavailable or are cost prohibitive.
  • Fees. The fee for an I-130 visa petition is, as of 2015, $420.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can file an I-130 petition?

Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident may file an I-130 petition.

Who can a U.S citizen/permanent resident file an I-130 petition for?

A U.S citizen may file an I-130 petition for his/her spouse, parents, brothers/sisters, or children. A US permanent resident may file an I-130 petition for his/her spouse or children.

How many I-130 petitions may one file?

You may file one I-130 petition for each relative you intend to immigrate. This includes the children of immigrating relatives. You may sponsor as many relatives as you wish, as long as you can meet the I-864 financial requirements to do so.

How long does the I-130 petition process take, and how long will it be until my relative can come to the U.S?

The time frame varies, mostly depending upon if you are a citizen, and who you are filing for. Spouses of US citizens will usually get their green card in 6-12 months, while spouses of permanent residents may have to wait years.

I want to marry my fiancée who is here in the US on a visa, can I marry her here in the U.S, and if I do, will she be removed until the I-130 is approved?

If your fiancée is currently in the U.S legally on any type of visa other than the J-1 visa, and you are a U.S citizen, then you can marry her, and she will not be sent back to his/her home country unless the marriage took place while the spouse was under deportation or if your fiancée came to the US on a tourist visa with the intent of immigration and marriage, which is fraud.

However, you must immediately file your I-130 along with forms I-485 and I-765. If your fiance/fiancee DID come to the US on a tourist visa with the intent of immigration and marriage, and you are not yet married, then he/she should return to his/her home abroad, and the K-1 visa should be filed instead of the I-130 to avoid a denial or deportation.

If you are already married, and your spouse came to the US on a tourist visa with the intent of immigration and marriage, then he/she should return to his/her home abroad, and the I-130 should be filed with the relative outside of the U.S to avoid deportation or denial.

My fiancée came to the U.S on a tourist visa and we intended to get married and for her to return home afterwards and then immigrate from outside the US. Does this mean our petition will be denied?

No. It is perfectly okay to marry in the US on a tourist visa as long as the intending immigrant returns to the home country to file the I-130, and does not try to adjust their status and remain in the US during the I-130 process.

May I file an I-130 petition while out of the country?

If you reside outside of the US, it may be possible for you to file the I-130 petition through the nearest American consulate or embassy.

What is an affidavit of support?

The affidavit of support is a legally binding contract, that promises the US government that the intending immigrant will not be a financial burden, and will not collect welfare or public benefits until either he/she becomes a US citizen, dies, abandons permanent residency status, or can be contributed with 40 quarters of work or about 10 years.  All immigrants immigrating via the I-130 petition must have an Affidavit of Support filed on behalf of them from the U.S citizen or permanent resident who filed the I-130 petition for them.

Do I file the I-134 Affidavit of Support, or the I-864 Affidavit of support for the I-130 petition?

You need to file the I-864 Affidavit Of Support.

On the Affidavit of Support Fact sheet, it says that I have to be residing in the U.S to sponsor my relative. Are there any exception to this rule?

Yes, but you need to check with the USCIS to see if you are one of the exceptions, but for people who do not qualify for the exceptions, there is no time limit set for you to re-establish your US residency. Basically, simply going back to the United States, staying a couple of weeks, and opening up a bank account, leasing/buying an apartment or house, or getting a job re-establishes your residency in the U.S, making it possible to sponsor your relative.

What are grounds for the CIS to deny an I-130 petition?

There are several grounds for which the CIS can deny your petition. Not being honest with them, or insufficient proof of citizenship, criminal record or US residency are the most common, however, as earlier said, a denial is rare.

May I appeal if my I-130 petition is denied?

Yes, you can appeal. If for some reason your I-130 petition is denied, then seeing an immigration lawyer is important. Contact Don Chairez to schedule a consultation.

My petition has been approved. Is my relative now a permanent resident?

No. Remember: an approval of an I-130 petition only means that your relative can file for an immigrant visa, or Adjustment of Status, and does not give your relative any rights until the USCIS or a consulate officer interviews your relative and makes a decision on whether or not your relative can become a lawful permanent resident.

What is conditional permanent residency?

USCIS gives ALL immigrants by marriage a conditional permanent residency green card unless the couple has been married for over 2 years at the time of interview. The conditional permanent residency green card is valid for only 2 years – the day your passport is stamped by customs or USCIS, and the couple must file an I-751 form to remove conditions 90 days before the 2 years is up, or the immigrant will lose his/her green card.

How do you speed up the process?

You can’t. However, one of the things you can do to avoid delays is to make sure you send in everything which is requested and to make many copies of all legal documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, u.s. tax returns…everything. It’s better to do things right the first time instead of going back to fix things later.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_I-130

http://www.uscis.gov

Successful Immigrants to the U.S.

Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin - One of the Founders of Google

Sergey Brin – One of the Founders of Google. Google co-founder Brin and his family emigrated from the U.S.S.R. when he was just 6 years old.

Andy Grove

Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel Corporation. Born in Hungary, the man originally known as Andras Istvan Grof spent many of his formative years hiding from the Nazis under a false identity. Grove arrived in the U.S. in 1957 with little money and even less in the way of English-language skills. He performed odd jobs throughout his early life and during college. He co-founded Intel Corporation in 1968.

Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel Corporation. Born in Hungary, the man originally known as Andras Istvan Grof spent many of his formative years hiding from the Nazis under a false identity. Grove arrived in the U.S. in 1957 with little money and even less in the way of English-language skills. He performed odd jobs throughout his early life and during college. He co-founded Intel Corporation in 1968.

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