Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.
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 (USCIS) form that citizens and permanent residents of the US must file on behalf of their alien relatives to enter the US 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 USCIS website.
To enter the US based on a relationship with a legal occupant, one must prove such a relationship to the USCIS office. This form enables the petitioner, i.e., the US 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 US through consular processing or by adjustment of Status via the National Visa Center (NVC).
Primarily, the form serves to establish that a valid family relationship exists 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 US citizen or a permanent resident.
For example, US 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 US 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 US if a visa is available in their category. As mentioned earlier, a visa is always available for an immediate relative of a US 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 USCIS will scrutinize all the information. Moreover, the USCIS 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 following 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 USCIS will send you a Request For Evidence (RFE) 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 USCIS account first. To create an account, you would need to provide your email address and create a password. After that, you will receive a confirmation code in your emails; use it to activate the USCIS online account.
Otherwise, you can mail the form to one of the USCIS 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:
The current filing fee for Form I-130 is $535, but this amount is subject to change. To get the most up-to-date information on filing fees and payment methods, you can visit the USCIS website and select the “Forms” tab. Here, you can find the I-130 form, click on it, and then scroll down to the “Filing Fee” section.
It is essential to submit the correct filing fee amount with your petition; otherwise, the USCIS may reject or return your application. You can pay the fee using a personal check, money order, or credit/debit card if filing online.
Hiring an immigration attorney can be very beneficial when filing Form I-130. Here are a few reasons why:
Although hiring an immigration lawyer is not a requirement for filing Form I-130, it can greatly increase your chances of success and make the process smoother and less stressful. So, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney before submitting your petition.
Getting an immigrant visa can be complicated, and some requirements may be challenging 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 solid and complete as possible. This can significantly improve your chances of success and help you get the green card for your family member without delays or complications.
If you are an American citizen or a green card holder looking to sponsor your spouse or another relative, contact Andrew T. Thomas, a trained immigration attorney in Texas, to help you navigate through the complexities of Form I-130 and other immigrant visa petitions.
With extensive experience and knowledge in immigration law, Andrew T. Thomas can provide you with personalized and efficient legal assistance to help reunite your family in the United States.