Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives

Form I-130, or the “Petition for Alien Relatives” as it is officially called, proves that a US citizen or a green card holder and his/her alien relative who wishes to immigrate to the US are related. To ensure that the relative is approved for citizenship, it is imperative that each part of this form is filled correctly by following the I-130 instructions carefully. The petitioner, or the US citizen who files the petition should be able to completely clarify his relationship with the beneficiary, on whose behalf the petition is made. Since the forms are assessed and then further processed on a priority basis, it is essential to fill and submit them as soon as they are ready. However, not everyone can file this form and alternately, not everyone for whom the petition is filed for is considered. The next section elaborates upon who can file the form for whom.

Who Can File Form I-130?

Only a USC, or a US citizen, and an LPR, or a Lawful Permanent Citizen, can file form I-130 on behalf of their relatives. USCs can petition for their spouses, parents, siblings, and children and they must be at least 21 years or older when filing for their parents and siblings. LPRs are only allowed to file for their spouses and unmarried children. The petitioner filing the petition for his/her relative should be aware of this difference and provide pieces of evidence for their relationship with the beneficiary.

To ensure that your USCIS form I-130 is considered, you need to remember that you cannot file for anyone outside your immediate family, such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and in-laws. Moreover, only a UCS can apply for his biological parents while LPRs don’t have this privilege. The application will then be considered if the relationship between the petitioner and his parents has not been terminated, for example, as when the beneficiary has not given the child up for adoption before. Plus, you cannot apply for your stepparents or stepchildren if the marriage happened after the child had reached the legal age of eighteen. To be able to file for your spouse, it is essential for both of you to have been physically present at the marriage ceremony and for your spouse to be not facing any immigrant court proceedings for deportation. You should also have been a green card holder for at least five years before you can petition for your spouse.

Because the process of petitioning involves several intricacies, it is important that you select a lawyer who is not only aware of these subtleties, but also has sufficient experience in dealing with them. Your attorney should be able to navigate through the complex series of exemptions and exclusions to ensure that your form is not rejected in the initial process. Furthermore, he should be well-familiarized with the technicalities involved to guarantee citizenship for your beneficiary. For example, he should be able to tell your beneficiary if he/she can “adjust status” with form I-485 by concurrently filing it with form I-130. Like if you are a USC, your beneficiary can apply for permanent residence if he/she is your spouse, child under 21 or parents and siblings if you are over 21. If you are an LPR, you can again adjust the status of your beneficiary if he/she is your spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 and currently residing in the US.

How to File Form I-130:

To file for form I-130, you need to fill it out precisely, keeping in mind the form I-130 instructions, before attaching the following documents:

Documents of the Petitioner:

I. Birth certificate if you are a USC
II. Naturalization or citizenship certificate issued by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) if you are an LPR
III. Unexpired US Passport
IV. A copy of the front and back of your green card

Documents of Beneficiary:

1. Spouse:

I. A copy of the marriage certificate
II. Proof of a valid marriage. These can be pictures taken on the day of the marriage
III. Evidence of prior terminated marriages

2. Child:

I. A copy of the child’s birth certificate
II. For a child born out of wedlock, evidence of your relationship with the child before he/she turned 21. This can include documents showing that you supported the child or pictures proving that you lived together

3. Siblings:

I. A copy of their birth certificates proving that you share at least one of the parents

4. Parents:

II. Birth certificates
III. Parents’ marriage certificate proving that they were married before you were born

5. Step Relations:

I. Stepchild’s birth certificate

II. Marriage certificate of the stepparent to the child’s natural parent proving that the marriage took place before the child’s 18th birthday

III. Certificates showing annulments of previous marriages

Ensure that all of your documents are in place and that all the sections of the form are duly filled and completed. These include: relationship with the beneficiary, your details, and information about the beneficiary. The form can then be filed at the Chicago or Phoenix Lockbox if you in the US, or the USCIS international office of any country if you are currently outside it.

How long is the Processing Time?

Because the forms are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, processing can take time. The processing time starts from after the approval or the Request for Evidence (RFE) is issued to the petitioner. Depending on the citizenship status of the sponsor and the location of the beneficiary, the I-130 processing time can be up to 7-15 months. While the USCIS’ target processing time for this form is five months, it can vary according to the following categories:

1. USC filing for a parent, spouse, or children under 21
2. LPR filing for spouse or children under 21
3. USC filing for a married or unmarried son or daughter over 21
4. LPR filing for a married or unmarried son or daughter over 21

What Happens After Filing Form I-130?

After you have filed the petition with all the relevant documents attached, you will receive a confirmation receipt of your application through the mail. This will include special instructions to help you keep track of your application process. If your beneficiary is already in the US and you have concurrently filed the above discussed form I-485, you will be called along with him/her for an initial I-130 interview after your application has been approved. It is imperative that you are well-prepared for this process to be able to answer the questions accurately and prove your relationship with your beneficiary.

For a standalone or separate application, your file will be sent NVC or National Visa Center who will transfer it to the US consulate in your beneficiary’s country. Your beneficiary will then have to choose an agent, pay the additional charges for processing etc and submit the required documents for Immigrant Visa Application. All of these processes should be dealt with carefully to ensure that your beneficiary receives his citizenship without any objections. The processes involved are highly complex and to handle them delicately, you will need guidance and support from someone experienced in this field every step of the way!

Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!

Remember that if your form I-130 is not properly filed, it might get an RFE or might even be rejected. This will cost you both time and money. To ensure smooth processing of your I-130 petition for alien relative, you need the help of experienced advisors like Eric Price! Because of his years of experience of successfully dealing with well over 1,000 cases in the immigration courts, he and his team are more than capable of handling your case. Since he is in good standing with the Florida Bar Association, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and American Immigration Lawyers Association, he can guide you through any unanticipated hurdles you might encounter.

For any questions or concerns regarding the form I-130 process, contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

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