I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

If you or your foreign relative wants permanent residence (green card), you need to meet specific requirements to file your petition. Some may find that petition requirements for spouses are more exhaustive than any other relationship, but with the proper preparation, we promise this one can go smoothly as well.

The receipt for your approval of USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that will lead you to the green card is to submit relevant supporting documents to evidence your relationship with the sponsor or beneficiary.

This is why we found it helpful to create an I-130 checklist to lead you through this process and submit clear evidence simply by following the checklist while preparing your petition.

As we already mentioned, the relationship between you and your spouse may have an additional layer of scrutiny by immigration officials because the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will pay extra attention.

The reason is that fraudulent marriages are often used to commit green card fraud. So be ready to file firm evidence because immigration officials will want to make sure your spouse obtains a green card based on a bona fide marriage and not for immigration purposes only.

This I-130 checklist will primarily show you how to fill USCIS the I-130 petition for spouses, but we will also provide you with some instructions on how to petition form I-130 for your parents.

As the process may be overwhelming, an immigration attorney can be an excellent choice to avoid some common mistakes that people make, which can cost them the lost opportunity to obtain a green card immigrant visa.

Herman Legal Group is a law firm with over 25 years of experience in immigration matters. You can call us for any immigration questions and have a consultation. In addition, to our clients, we are available 24/7 and offer you Zoom or Skype consultations.

I-130 Checklist for a U.S. Citizen Spouse- Review

Let’s have a short overlook of the I-130 checklist before the beginning of your I-130 petition.

We prepared this quick I-130 checklist of items that you’ll need to gain insight into how to fill out certain parts of the form.

Form I-130 contains nine parts and lots of questions, so let’s see what information you should prepare.

Petitioner’s Information

The petitioner of the I-130 form can have a status as a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and this person needs to file the petition, and depending on the reason, the proof of status will differ. A person who intends to become a permanent resident in the U.S. is called a beneficiary.

Form I-130 asks the petitioner to provide details about:

  • Address history for the last five years
  • Whether you were married before? (if applicable)
  • Employment history for the past five years
  • Whether you previously filed a petition for the beneficiary or any other foreigner?

Beneficiary’s Information

The beneficiary is the immigrant that wants to live in the United States and intends to apply for a green card.

In form I-130, the beneficiary will provide the following information:

  • Address history for the last five years
  • Whether you were previously married? (if applicable)
  • Employment history for the past five years
  • I-94 information (if he or she is currently present in the U.S.)
  • Any previous immigration proceedings if there were some

As we mentioned earlier, when filing Form I-130 for your spouse, it’s essential to make a petition package complete with all of the supporting documents.

If the supporting documents attached to your petition don’t provide enough information, the USCIS may send you a Request for Evidence (RFE) which can take additional time and impact the processing time to approve your I-130 petition.

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

Make sure to complete all of the required sections, and if you have any concerns or need any help with completing form I-130, don’t hesitate to contact us at +1-216-696-6170 for your consultation or request one through our online form. Don’t forget to sign the form.

Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary

Form I-130A is required only if the beneficiary is a spouse and not for parents. If your spouse is currently outside the United States at the moment of submitting the form, his or her signature is not obligatory.

Supporting Documents

When preparing supporting documents, you need to submit, ensure to include copies along with your I-130 petition, and keep original examples for yourself.

Then, follow the list to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Passport Photos

Your petition will require two passport-style color photos of your and two passport-style color photos of your spouse. Do not attach to the petition package old photos since those shall be taken within 30 days of filing the petition.

If your spouse lives outside the United States, photos can be older, but it’s also highly advisable to provide the most recent ones.

Proof of U.S. Citizen Status or U.S. Permanent Residence

U.S. citizens can prove their citizenship by submitting a photocopy of a birth certificate (for U.S. citizens by birth), passport, naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship, or consular report of birth abroad.

If you are a lawful permanent resident, you have to provide a photocopy of your green card (both sides of it) or other proof of permanent residence to prove your status.

Proof of Marriage

Your marriage certificate will prove that there is a relationship between you and your spouse. As stated earlier, submit a copy of your marriage certificate and keep the original since USCIS may keep provided papers

Evidence of a bona fide marriage

We cannot stress enough how much it is important to include supporting evidence to prove that you are married because you love each other, intend to live and stay together, and not evade U.S. immigration laws.

The bonafide relationship can be proven by submitting copies of documents that you have shared financial liabilities, assets, insurance, birth certificates of your children born into the marriage, or any other documents you think might demonstrate that your relationship is genuine.

Proof that any prior marriages are terminated

If either you or your spouse was previously married, just state ‘not applicable.’ Otherwise, make sure to submit a photocopy of documents showing that any prior marriage was legally terminated.

For this purpose, you can submit a photocopy of a divorce decree or death certificate, depending on why it was terminated.

If any of these documents are in a foreign language, provide translations. It doesn’t have to be certified, but the translator needs to be competent.

Name Changes

If applicable, provide a legally valid record of any name changes issued by the government.

Proxy Marriage

If you submitted a Proxy Marriage Certificate, you would have to prove that you both were physically present and together after the wedding ceremony. To prove this, use any hotel receipts, photographs, passport stamps, etc.

Form G-28

USCIS Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney or Representative, provides information about the eligibility of an attorney or other accredited representative to represent a client in an immigration matter before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Cover Letter (optional)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not require a cover letter along with Form I-130. However, a cover letter can help you explain and clarify the evidence that you are submitting.

Now, when you have your I-130 petition package complete, you need to submit your visa application at the proper USCIS lockbox facility. It will depend on whether your spouse lives outside the United States and whether you are filing Form I-485, or Application for Adjustment of Status, at the same time.

How to Complete the I-130 Form for Parents

If you want to bring your parents to the United States as green card holders, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old. As you can see, as a lawful permanent resident, you cannot use this opportunity for your parents.

We won’t go through each question in the form applicable for parents and make the specific checklist, but if any questions arise, we remind you that you can book your consultations with Herman Legal Group.

However, we will note what essential documents to submit with Form I-130 for parents are.

Required Documents for Submission With Form I-130

  • Proof of status– that you are a U.S. citizen who sponsors your parents. Make a copy of your birth certificate, naturalization certificate, passport, Form FS-20 (Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen), or citizenship certificate.
  • Proof that beneficiaries are your parents: Submit a copy of your birth certificate where your parents are listed. If you were adopted, make sure to include the adoption certificate. If you have step-parents, then file for marriage and birth certificate.

USCIS Filing Fee

A filing fee for the USCIS form I-130 is $535, no matter if you sponsor your spouse or your parents. You can pay via check or credit card at the U.S. consulate or Embassy.

Do I need an Immigration Lawyer to Get a green card?

While you can start the visa journey on your own following this checklist, an immigration attorney can be helpful from the very first beginning. Our immigration attorneys aim to get to know each client and be by their side at the beginning, middle, and end of the process.

You can call us for a consultation at +1-216-696-6170 or use our online form to request one, so we can discuss the best strategy to bring your spouse or your parents to the United States.

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