From Start to Finish: Navigating Form I-130 Successfully

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By Eva Adm

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to establish the qualifying relationship with a foreign national relative who wishes to immigrate to the United States. The form is typically filed by the U.S. citizen or green card holder on behalf of their foreign national relative to help them obtain a family-based immigrant visa and eventually become a lawful permanent resident in the United States.

Here are the key categories of individuals who typically file Form I-130:

  • U.S. Citizens:
    • To sponsor their immediate relatives, including spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents.
  • Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders):
    • To sponsor their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age.

How to fill out Form I-130 step-by-step

Filling out Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is an important step in the family-based immigration process. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fill out the form. Please note that these instructions are for general guidance, and it’s essential to refer to the most current version of the form and instructions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, as requirements may change over time.

Step 1: Obtain the Form

You can download Form I-130 from the USCIS website or request a copy by calling USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.

Step 2: Read the Instructions

Before filling out the form, carefully read the accompanying instructions (Form I-130A). This will help you understand the requirements and provide guidance on how to complete the form correctly.

Step 3: Complete Form I-130

  • Part 1 – Information About You (Petitioner): Provide your personal information, including your name, address, contact details, and your status (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident).
  • Part 2 – Information About Your Beneficiary: Provide the beneficiary’s personal information, including their name, address, and relationship to you. You’ll also need to provide the beneficiary’s country of birth, and the country where they are currently living.
  • Part 3 – Additional Information About You (Petitioner): Provide more details about your background, including your employment history, and previous marriages (if applicable).
  • Part 4 – Information About Your Marital History (if applicable): If you’re filing for a spouse, provide details about your current and previous marriages, including dates and locations.
  • Part 5 – Information About Your Prior Spouse (if applicable): If you or your spouse had previous marriages, provide details about those marriages.
  • Part 6 – Information About the Beneficiary’s Prior Spouse(s) (if applicable): If the beneficiary had previous marriages, provide details about those marriages.
  • Part 7 – Additional Information About the Beneficiary: Provide details about the beneficiary’s marital history and previous immigration history.
  • Part 8 – Other Information (if applicable): Provide additional information about any other related cases, if applicable.
  • Part 9 – Petitioner’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature: Sign and date the form.

Step 4: Complete Form I-130A (Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary)

If you are filing for your spouse, you must also complete Form I-130A. This form requires detailed biographical information about both you and your spouse.

Step 5: Gather Supporting Documents

Collect all required supporting documents, including marriage certificates, divorce decrees (if applicable), and proof of your U.S. citizenship or green card status.

Step 6: Pay the Filing Fee

Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee, and include the appropriate fee with your application. You can pay by check or money order, payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Step 7: Mail the Application

Mail the completed Form I-130, Form I-130A, and all supporting documents, along with the fee payment, to the address specified in the form instructions.

Step 8: Receive a Receipt Notice

Once USCIS receives your application, they will send you a receipt notice. Keep this notice for your records.

Step 9: Attend Any Required Biometrics Appointment

Depending on your case, USCIS may require you and your beneficiary to attend a biometrics appointment.

Step 10: Attend Any Interview

If necessary, attend an interview with USCIS. Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship and provide additional documentation.

Step 11: Await USCIS Decision

USCIS will review your application and supporting documents and notify you of their decision.

This is a general overview of the process. The specific requirements and procedures may vary depending on your unique situation and can change over time. Be sure to refer to the most current instructions and consult with an immigration attorney if you have any questions or concerns.