What is Form I-130?
Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is a form used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to sponsor certain family members who wish to immigrate to the United States. The purpose of Form I-130 is to establish the qualifying relationship between the sponsoring individual and the foreign family member, which allows the family member to potentially obtain an immigrant visa and become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) in the United States.
Here are the key points to understand about Form I-130:
- Sponsorship for Family Members: U.S. citizens and permanent residents can use Form I-130 to sponsor specific family members for immigration to the United States. Eligible family members include spouses, children, parents, and siblings.
- Establishing Qualifying Relationships: The form serves to establish the relationship between the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and the intending immigrant (the family member seeking to immigrate). Documentation, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other evidence, is often required to prove the familial relationship.
- Purpose: Form I-130 is the first step in the family-sponsored immigration process. Once the I-130 petition is approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the intending immigrant can move on to the next steps in the immigration process, such as applying for an immigrant visa or adjusting status to permanent residency in the U.S.
- Two Categories of Petitioners: Form I-130 is used by both U.S. citizens (category IR) and permanent residents (category F) to sponsor family members. U.S. citizens can sponsor a wider range of family members and have shorter processing times compared to permanent residents.
- Separate Petitions for Each Family Member: A separate Form I-130 must be filed for each eligible family member being sponsored. For example, if a U.S. citizen wishes to sponsor both their spouse and child, they would need to file two separate I-130 petitions.
- Processing Times: The processing time for Form I-130 can vary based on factors such as the relationship being established, the sponsoring individual’s status (U.S. citizen or permanent resident), the USCIS service center processing the application, and the volume of applications being processed.
- Submission: Form I-130 is submitted to USCIS along with the required supporting documents and the appropriate filing fee.
- Immigrant Visa Application: Once Form I-130 is approved, the intending immigrant can proceed with applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country (if they are outside the U.S.) or adjusting their status to permanent residency (if they are already in the U.S.).
Form I-130 is a critical component of the family-sponsored immigration process, allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents to reunite with eligible family members in the United States. It’s important to follow the form’s instructions accurately and provide the necessary documentation to establish the qualifying relationship.
How to fill out Form I-130?
Filling out Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is an important step in the family-sponsored immigration process. This form is used by U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members for immigration to the United States. While I can provide you with a general overview of how to fill out the form, keep in mind that U.S. immigration forms can be complex, and it’s recommended to refer to the official instructions provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and, if possible, seek guidance from an immigration attorney.
Here’s a general step-by-step guide how to fill out Form I-130:
- Download the Form:
- Download the most recent version of Form I-130 from the USCIS website.
- Read the Instructions:
- Carefully read the instructions provided with the form. These instructions will guide you through each section of the form and provide explanations for terms and concepts.
- Part 1: Information About You (Petitioner):
- Provide your personal information, including your full name, address, date of birth, and contact information.
- Part 2: Information About Beneficiary:
- Provide information about the family member you are sponsoring (the beneficiary), including their full name, date of birth, and relationship to you.
- Part 3: Additional Information:
- Answer the questions in this section related to your nationality, citizenship, and residency status.
- Part 4: Basis for Petition:
- Indicate whether you are a U.S. citizen (IR category) or a lawful permanent resident (F category).
- Provide details about the relationship between you and the beneficiary. This might include information about how the relationship was established (e.g., birth, marriage) and relevant dates.
- Part 5: Other Information:
- Answer the questions about previous filings, prior marriages, and other relevant background information.
- Part 6: Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature:
- Provide your contact information, read the declaration carefully, and sign and date the form.
- Part 7: Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature (if applicable):
- If someone helped you fill out the form or acted as an interpreter, they should complete this section.
- Review the checklist provided with the form to ensure you have included all required documentation and information.
- Include the appropriate filing fee with the form. The fee can be paid by check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” or by using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
- Supporting Documentation:
- Include copies of the required supporting documents to establish the relationship between you and the beneficiary. These might include birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, and other relevant evidence.
- Make a copy of the entire package for your records before submitting the form and supporting documents to USCIS. You can file the form either by mail or, in some cases, electronically.
Remember that Form I-130 might have different sections and requirements based on whether you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, and based on the relationship you’re trying to establish. Be thorough and accurate when completing the form, as errors or omissions can lead to delays or even denials. For the most accurate and up-to-date guidance, refer to the official USCIS instructions for Form I-130.
What documents must be submitted with Form I-130?
When submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you need to include various supporting documents that establish the qualifying relationship between the petitioner (the U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and the intending immigrant beneficiary. These documents are crucial to proving the legitimacy of the familial relationship and supporting the approval of the petition. The specific documents required can vary based on the relationship being established and the circumstances of the case. Here are some common documents that might need to be submitted with Form I-130:
- Proof of Identity and Nationality:
- Copy of the petitioner’s valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate (for U.S. citizens).
- Copy of the petitioner’s valid green card (for permanent residents).
- Proof of Qualifying Relationship:
- Birth certificate showing the names of both parents for parent-child relationships.
- Marriage certificate for spousal relationships.
- Birth certificates or other evidence showing the names of both parents for sibling relationships.
- Proof of Legal Name Change (if applicable):
- If either the petitioner or beneficiary has changed their name, provide documentation of the legal name change (e.g., court order, marriage certificate).
- Divorce or Death Certificates (if applicable):
- If either the petitioner or beneficiary has been previously married, provide divorce decrees, annulment documents, or death certificates of previous spouses.
- Translation of Documents:
- If any of the supporting documents are not in English, provide certified translations.
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864):
- If you are the petitioner or joint sponsor, you will need to provide Form I-864 along with evidence of your income and financial support.
- Financial Documents:
- Tax returns (Form 1040) for the most recent year.
- W-2 forms and/or 1099 forms showing income.
- Pay stubs or other proof of employment and income.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency:
- Copies of birth certificates, green cards, or naturalization certificates for the petitioner (if applicable).
- Passport-Style Photos:
- Passport-style photos of the petitioner and beneficiary.
- Filing Fee:
- Include the appropriate filing fee with the application.
It’s important to remember that the required documents can vary based on the relationship being established (spouse, parent, child, sibling) and the petitioner’s status (U.S. citizen or permanent resident). Always refer to the official USCIS instructions for Form I-130 and any additional guidance specific to your situation.
Additionally, keep copies of all documents and correspondence for your records, as you may need them for future steps in the immigration process. If you have any doubts about which documents to submit or how to prepare your application package, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or an accredited immigration service provider.