I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

Since you stopped by here, you probably wonder how to live and work in the United States. If that’s so, you should consider your employment or family relationship options to lead you to permanent residence as the most considerable immigration base.

There are two major pathways to immigration to the United States via a green card (immigrant visa) that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers. Also, other routes exist, but employment and family ties are the most common bases for becoming a permanent resident that USCIS grants.

If you and your spouse or other family member consider those options, you can file USCIS Form I-130 from or outside the United States. Filing I-130 form aims to prove the family relationship between a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and a foreign person, your spouse or relative, to commence green card processing.

Still, when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your family-based I-130 petition, it is solely not enough to get you, your spouse, or relative a green card, but it is an excellent way to start. So, learn how to create the path to become a lawful permanent resident.

If you have any questions after reading this article, call us right away! Herman Legal Group is a law firm specializing in immigration law, knowing the law inside and out and enjoying over 25 years. Our staff speaks over a dozen languages, and it is likely we can find someone to converse with you in your native language, help you prepare filing documentation and file USCIS form I-130, or seek other non-immigrant and immigrant visas and lead you through a green card application process.

Call now for your consultation at +1-216-696-6170 or request one through our online form.

Who is eligible for family-based I-130 Sponsorship?

To be a sponsor to a spouse or other family members who aim to obtain a green card, you have to be either:

  • U.S. citizens (having U.S. citizenship by birth or by naturalization); or
  • Lawful permanent resident.

The main difference between persons who holds one of these statuses is the range of relatives they can sponsor. If you are a U.S citizen, the range of persons you can sponsor is broader, and also, the processing time to wait for a green card is shorter than for the one who is a 1-130 green cardholder.

I-130 Beneficiary: U.S Citizen and LPR

The beneficiaries of an approved USCIS Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative filed by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder can be a spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21).

Unlike I-130 green card holders, U.S. citizens must file an I-130 form to sponsor:

  • Parents;
  • Siblings;
  • Married children.

Make sure to provide a birth certificate to each category when filing I-130.

Usually, a spouse of U.S. citizens can become a permanent resident in about a year. For example, siblings may have to wait decades after the approval of Form I-130 before they can immigrate to the United States.

Who Cannot Submit I-130 Form?

Even when a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is eligible to file an I-130 petition, there are certain cases when USCIS banned the option.

A U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident cannot file an I-130 to sponsor the following relatives:

  • Grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, or parents-in-law
  • Adoptive parents or children adopted after they turned 16 years old.
  • Biological parents, if you obtained a green card or a U.S. citizenship through adoption.
  • Stepparents or stepchildren, if a child already turned 18 years when the marriage that created the step relationship happened.
  • Spouses, if you were not physically present at the marriage ceremony.
  • Spouses, if you obtained a green card through a prior marriage to a U.S. citizen or a green card holder — except if you became a naturalized U.S. citizen or have been a green card holder for at least five years.
  • A spouse, if a marriage happened while they were a part of any immigration court proceedings.
  • That U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS determined that marriage happened purely for immigration purposes.

If you think the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS may deny your I-130 petition, we highly advise you to get an attorney’s help to fill the form. If you believe that you are at risk of being denied after filing form I-130, you might consider contacting Herman Legal Group.

If you live outside the United States, or you prefer online consultations, we offer a 1-hour Skype or Zoom consultation on the strategy to go over the facts of your case and vet the case to identify potential issues and mitigation strategies.

How to File an I-130 form and get a green card?

Firstly, you need to properly fulfill all the questions in the USCIS I-130 form, which are divided into five parts, collect supporting documents. Afterward, you must file documents at the proper lockbox facility. Throughout the form, you will notice that the immigrant is referred to as “your relative” or the “beneficiary.”

Part 1. – Seeks information about a relationship where you need to select the offered type of relative that you want to petition: spouse, parent, brother/sister, or a child. Notice that U.S. citizens may sponsor any of these, but a lawful permanent resident may only petition a spouse or unmarried child.

If you file form I-130 for a child or parent, select an option for the type of relationship (biological, stepchild/stepparent, or adoptive). There will be some additional questions about adoptive relationships, but these are generally easy to answer.

Part 2. – Asks for Information about the petitioner regarding the address and marital information.

Part 3. – Requires biographic information. Here, you will need to select provided options under “race” and “ethnicity” for immigrants.

Part 4. -Asks you about information of beneficiary (the intending relative-immigrant): There are sections regarding Marital Information (note that marital details about both you and your spouse are vital, so be ready to provide extra information about it), Information About Beneficiary’s Family, Beneficiary’s Entry Information, Unauthorized Stay, Unlawful Entry.

Part 5. – Requires you to provide Other Information: whether you ever filed a petition for this beneficiary or any other immigrant relative.

After completing the I-130 form, you must file it at the proper USCIS lockbox facility.

The filing USCIS lockbox facility for your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will depend on whether you live outside the United States and whether you are filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Application for Adjustment of Status, at the same time (also called as “concurrent filing”).

For example, if you live outside the United States, you may file your I-130 at the Dallas lockbox facility.

According to the U.S. State Department website, the USCIS office in the United Kingdom and Ghana will continue to process Forms I-130 until March 31, 2020, for U.S. citizens residing in these countries.

You may request an electronic notification when by filing the form G-

On the USCIS website, you can find the table that exactly explains which lockbox facility you should file Form I-130.

According to the Fee Calculator that you may find on the USCIS website, the filing fee for Form I-130 is $535.00, and you can pay this via check or credit card.

What are Supporting Documents to Include With I-130 Form?

Supporting documents you need to submit along with I-130 visa petitions serve to prove that the sponsor is allowed to file an I-130 form for their immediate relative in the first place and that you have a valid family relationship with the immigrant seeking a green card. When submitting USCIS form I-130, make sure that you collected the required documents from you and your relative that you must file, and that will prove the following:

  • The sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a green card holder (birth certificate or other document issued by the U.S. government agency)
  • A legally valid relationship exists (marriage certificate, or birth certificate for another relative)
  • The relationship is not fraudulent
  • If there are any name changes for the sponsor and/or the person seeking a green card
  • The beneficiary’s nationality (birth certificate)

How long does it take for I-130 Petitions to be approved?

Although the necessary steps are fairly consistent, the processing times of I-130 depends on other circumstances, such as the type of relationship, USCIS caseload, and your ability to file an accurately prepared I-130 petition.

USCIS’s time to process the Form I-130 Petition can be slow and depend on the office you send your petition. In 2020, it took USCIS from seven to 22 months on average to process the immigrant visa packet. Afterward, you have to wait for a specific time before you can come to the United States. That depends on whether you are married to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”), or a green-card holder.

  • If you are married to a U.S. citizen, the time you have to wait is about two months before your case goes to the U.S. government agency: U.S. Department of State- National Visa Center (NVC). Then, there are several months of waiting before the National Visa Center process it, and the U.S. embassy is ready to schedule your interview, so the total average of waiting can go up to 24 months.
  • If you are married to a lawful permanent resident, you will be subject to the quota system.

To follow up with the current processing times for non-immigrant and immigrant visas, you can visit the USCIS website and check trends in all five field USCIS offices or service centers: Nebraska, California, Potomac, Texas, and Vermont.

What happens after I file form I-130?

There are several steps to undertake after you file form I-130.

Step 1: Getting Petitioner receipt notice- Notice of Action 2 (NOA2) stating that your petition has been approved. USCIS takes several months to send you a receipt notice called the Notice of Action 2 after submitting your I-130 petition. This receipt notice usually arrives 2 to 3 weeks after filing.

Step 2: USCIS sends your Approved I-130 Petition to the National Visa Center (NVC) for pre-processing and collecting fees, forms, and documents from the petitioner and beneficiary.

Step 3: You will receive a visa number and welcome letter from NVC containing instructions on the following steps. It would be best to ensure that NVC has the correct mailing address (yours or your spouse’s). The final adjustment of status can be made only after this number becomes available for you. If NVC miss to contact you regarding the number of your visa, you can also use the U.S. Department of State Visa Bulletin to check whether a visa is available for your petition.

Step 4: Pay the Immigrant Visa fee for processing your visa petitions during the interview stage. This fee applicants will pay separately and the affidavit of support fee (AOS) for processing your testimony of support form and supporting evidence.

Step 5: Complete U.S. Department of State Form DS-260 before scheduling your interview with the embassy or consulate. This is a long online form to file for an immigrant visa found on the U.S. Department of State site and other DS forms. It requires answers to many questions related to personal and family information, previous travel to the United States, work and education, etc. U.S. Department of State forms, as well as other Non-USCIS Forms you can find here.

Step 6: Complete Form I-864 required for the U.S. petitioner to support the beneficiary to avoid them using public assistance financially.

Step 7: Attend Visa Interview At U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy scheduled by NVC or the consulate after completing form DS-260 and the I-864. You may find a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates on the U.S. Department of State official website at travel.state.gov.

Step 8: Receive Stamp In Your Passport after an interview. Authorities will notify right at the spot or by sending a letter shortly. They will also tell you if you can receive the passport via mail or pick it up later.

While we attempt to provide relevant and up-to-date information on our website, you should bear in mind that information on the site is not legal advice but informative articles where you can learn about different USCIS forms and the green card process. Reading our blog prepared by our immigration expert team can provide you a good insight into how the green card process looks like, and we aim to keep it up to date, but we encourage you to check it from time to time on the USCIS website. information

Related Questions about Form I-130:

What can form I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) help you do?

By filing a Form I-485, you can become a lawful permanent resident (get the green card or immigrant visa) through:

  • A job offer
  • Asylee status
  • Refugee Status

Also, a Preference Relative and Immediate Relative can become Lawful Permanent Residents by filing form I-485.

Do You Need to File Separate Forms I-130?

If you file a USCIS I-130 form for your child when you are petitioning for the other parent as well, you must file a separate I-130 Form for each relative if you are a U.S. citizen, while you can file a single I-130 petition if you are a lawful permanent resident.

What does it mean by “fraudulent marriage,” and how to prove it isn’t?

USCIS officers can conclude based on proves that you provided that your marriage was undertaken only to gain a Green Card. So, make sure to gather proper documentation and evidence of your joint life: tax returns, cohabitation, photos with family and friends, children, journeys, etc.

Can I-130 be revoked?

Yes, your I-130 petition can be revoked in the following cases:

  • The petitioner withdraws the I-130
  • The petitioner or immigrant dies
  • A marriage is terminated (upon which the I-130 is based)
  • An unmarried child of a lawful permanent resident marries, or
  • The petitioner who is a lawful permanent resident loses the status (except if being naturalized).

Is An Immigration Lawyer Worth The Cost?

While you can file your application on your own, if you decide to hire an immigration attorney, it means that additional legal fees will be added to your immigration case. However, you will not have help while preparing all the documents, evidence, or get advice on communicating with USCIS, the U.S Department of State, and other government agencies. And making a mistake can cost you a lot.

So if you want to be sure that your case will be well prepared and get higher chances to have a positive outcome, we highly advise you to hire an immigration attorney who will be with you in each phase throughout the process. Hiring an immigration expert can prevent visa denials and even removal from the United States.

We at Herman Legal Group aim to get to know each client and are available to answer any of your questions at the beginning, middle, and end of the process. A little more investment into expert counsel often goes a long way in making for a smoother ride. So, be free to call us for a consultation at +1-216-696-6170 or use our online form to request one.

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