What is Form I-130?
Form I-130, officially titled the “Petition for Alien Relative,” is a form used by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to petition for certain close family members to immigrate to the United States and become lawful permanent residents (green card holders). This form establishes the qualifying family relationship between the petitioner (U.S. citizen or LPR) and the intending immigrant relative.
The main purpose of Form I-130 is to demonstrate to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that a qualifying family relationship exists and that the petitioner wishes to sponsor their family member’s immigration to the U.S. The form is often used in family-based immigration cases to bring immediate relatives and certain other family members to live and work in the U.S. permanently.
Here are some key points to know about Form I-130:
Petitioner: The petitioner is the U.S. citizen or LPR who is filing the form to sponsor their family member’s immigration.
Intending Immigrant Relative: The intending immigrant relative is the family member who is being sponsored for immigration. This can include spouses, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old).
Types of Relationships: Form I-130 is typically used for immediate relatives (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 years old) as well as certain family preference categories (unmarried sons and daughters over 21, married children of any age, and siblings of U.S. citizens).
Filing Process: The petitioner must complete and submit Form I-130 to USCIS along with the required documentation, evidence of the qualifying relationship, and the appropriate filing fee.
Processing Times: The processing time for Form I-130 can vary based on factors such as the USCIS service center processing the application, the relationship being petitioned, and the petitioner’s immigration status.
Approval: Once the Form I-130 is approved, the case is typically transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. If the intending immigrant relative is abroad, they will follow the consular processing path to obtain an immigrant visa and enter the U.S.
Conditional vs. Permanent Green Card: If the marriage is less than two years old when the green card is granted, the foreign spouse will initially receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years. They will need to apply to remove the conditions before the two-year expiration to obtain a permanent green card.
It’s important to note that immigration laws and regulations can change, and the eligibility requirements for Form I-130 can vary based on the petitioner’s status and the intended family relationship. If you’re considering filing Form I-130 to sponsor a family member for immigration, it’s recommended to consult the USCIS website or seek advice from an immigration attorney or accredited representative to ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Who can be sponsored by Form I-130?
Form I-130, the “Petition for Alien Relative,” is used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to sponsor certain close family members for immigration to the United States. The form establishes the qualifying family relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant relative. Here are the eligible categories of family members who can be sponsored through Form I-130:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens:
- Spouses of U.S. citizens
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age of U.S. citizens
- Parents of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old)
- Family Preference Categories for U.S. Citizens:
- Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years of age or older) of U.S. citizens
- Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens
- Siblings of U.S. citizens (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old)
- Family Preference Categories for Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs):
- Spouses of LPRs
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age of LPRs
It’s important to note that each category has its own priority and allocation of visas, which can result in variations in processing times and availability. Additionally, certain categories, such as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, have a more favorable immigration status and generally do not face long wait times for visa numbers to become available.
The qualifying relationships must be established through legally recognized marriages, parent-child relationships, or sibling relationships. The relationships must be genuine and not established solely for the purpose of immigration.
The eligibility criteria and availability of visa numbers can change based on immigration laws and regulations. If you’re considering filing Form I-130 to sponsor a family member, it’s recommended to consult the USCIS website or seek advice from an immigration attorney or accredited representative to ensure that you have the most accurate and up-to-date information about eligible family members and the sponsorship process.
What are Form I-130 filing fees?
The filing fees for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary based on the petitioner’s relationship to the intending immigrant and the petitioner’s immigration status (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident). However, please note that USCIS periodically updates its fee schedule, so it’s important to check the USCIS website for the most current and accurate fee information. Here is a general overview of the filing fees as of my last update:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens:
- Spouse of a U.S. citizen: Fee required
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a U.S. citizen: Fee required
- Parent of a U.S. citizen (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old): Fee required
- Family Preference Categories:
- Unmarried son or daughter (21 years of age or older) of a U.S. citizen: Fee required
- Married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen: Fee required
- Sibling of a U.S. citizen (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old): Fee required
- Spouses and Unmarried Children (under 21) of Lawful Permanent Residents:
- Spouse of a lawful permanent resident: Fee required
- Unmarried child under 21 years of age of a lawful permanent resident: Fee required
Please keep in mind that these fees can change, and additional fees might be associated with the immigration process, such as the visa application fee for the intending immigrant. Additionally, if you’re sponsoring multiple family members, you may need to file separate Form I-130 petitions for each eligible relative.