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Getting the I-130 form is the beginning of the immigration journey for many into the United States based on a family relationship with someone who already has legal status in the United States.
However, many things need to be considered before submitting this form, such as deadlines, required supporting documents, and slightly different processes depending on the family relationship. Therefore, understanding the process before you begin is very important. An attorney whose practice areas include handling immigration court proceedings and other immigration issues can help you file a successful petition.
ATT LAW’s team of experienced attorneys has years of experience helping people through the I-130 form. We understand the importance of this form and will work with you to ensure that you have all the information necessary to file it properly.
Form I-130 is a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) form that citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. must file on behalf of their alien relatives to enter the U.S. and become lawful permanent residents. This form is referred to as a “Petition for Alien Relative,” and one can download and file it online via the U.S.C.I.S. website.
To enter the U.S. based on a relationship with a legal occupant, one must prove such a relationship to the U.S.C.I.S. This form enables the petitioner, i.e., the U.S. citizen or legal resident, to prove the said relationship by providing the required information and necessary documents.
After this form is approved, the alien relative can apply for an immigrant visa to enter the U.S. through consular processing or by adjustment of status via the National Visa Center (NVC).
Primarily, the form serves to prove a qualifying relationship between the petitioner and the visa applicant. Not every relative qualifies for a family-based green card. Furthermore, the kind of relationship that would qualify depends on whether the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
For example, U.S. citizens can petition for their spouses, minor children, or parents as their immediate relatives for family-based green cards. They can also petition for their married and unmarried sons and daughters above 21 years old and their brothers and sisters if the U.S. citizen is above 21 years old.
However, non-citizens can only apply for their spouses and unmarried children. Therefore, being the parent of a permanent resident is not a qualifying relationship to apply for a green card.
Also, the approval of the form signals a go-ahead for the alien resident to apply for lawful permanent residence in the U.S. if a visa is available in their category. As mentioned earlier, a visa is always available for an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.
However, other non-immediate relatives of citizens or relatives of green card holders will have to wait to get an immigrant visa number. Visa availability depends on the applicant’s priority date, i.e., the day the I-130 form is approved.
The petitioner must be truthful when filling out the form, as the U.S.C.I.S. will scrutinize all the information. Moreover, the U.S.C.I.S. requires petitioners to fill out the form in black ink only and add ‘N/A’ if something is not applicable.
The form’s first part tries to establish the relationship between the petitioner and the relative, whereas the next two parts are dedicated to the petitioner’s personal information. The required information may include employment history, Social Security numbers, and biological information like descriptions of the physical appearance.
Part four of the form asks for information about the alien relative for whom the petition is made. The next part requires other information about the form filing in general. In part 6 of the form, the petitioner has to fill in their contact information. If the petitioner fills the form with the aid of an interpreter, part 7 requires the interpreter to fill in their information.
Part 8 applies to those who had someone else fill the form on their behalf, e.g., the petitioner’s attorney. Finally, the last section provides additional space in case the ones provided in other parts of the form are not enough to fill in the necessary information.
As a general rule, the petitioner must file their I-130 petition along with supporting documents. Some of the typically required documents include:
An immigration lawyer should be able to tell you the exact supporting documents to submit with your petition. If any documents are missing, the U.S.C.I.S. will send you a Request For Evidence (R.F.E.) or deny your petition. You may also need to file additional forms like Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for a Spouse Beneficiary, etc.
You can file the I-130 form online or by mail. To file online, you need to create a U.S.C.I.S. account first, and then you can fill it out and submit it.
Otherwise, you can mail the form to one of the U.S.C.I.S. filing locations. The appropriate location will depend on where you live and whether you plan to submit the I-130 as a separate form or do a concurrent filing with the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
If you create an account with the U.S.C.I.S., you can track the status and progress of your application online. You can also check with the U.S.C.I.S. online tool. All you need is your case receipt number, which you will get after filing your petition. Then, the system will let you know the progress of your application and if you are required to take any next steps.
The Form I-130 processing time depends on various factors, such as the type of family relationship and the current workload of the USCIS. Generally, it can take six months to a year or even more for the petition to be approved.
To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on I-130 processing times, you should:
Please be aware that approval of the I-130 petition is only the first step in obtaining a green card for a family member.
The beneficiary may still need to go through additional steps, such as applying for adjustment of status (if already in the US) or applying for an immigrant visa at a US embassy or consulate (if outside the US). These additional steps may also have varying processing times.
Getting an immigrant visa can be complicated, and some requirements may be difficult to meet. Rather than submitting a half-baked petition and risking rejection, an immigration attorney can improve your chances of getting your application approved.
Furthermore, an attorney can help you with any nuances or complications with your case and, if necessary, with immigration court proceedings.
By hiring an experienced immigration lawyer, you can have peace of mind that your application will be as strong and complete as possible. This can greatly improve your chances of success and help you get the green card for your family member without delays or complications.
If you need the help of a trained immigration attorney in Texas, contact Andrew T. Thomas Attorneys at Law today!