Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the USCIS Form I-130?

Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is the immigrant petition that permits US citizens and Green Card holders to sponsor their immediate relatives and get them US Green Cards.

Who can file Form I-130?

Any US citizen or permanent resident can file Form I-130, to sponsor their relatives.

Who can a US citizen file Form I-130 for?

A US citizen can file this form for his/her spouse, children, parents and siblings. To file an immigrant petition for a brother/sister or a parent, the US citizen sponsor must be above age 21.

Who can a lawful permanent resident file Form I-130 for?

Permanent residents can file this form to get their spouses and children US Green Cards. Permanent residents cannot sponsor their parents and siblings for permanent resident status.

How many I-130 petitions can I file?

You can file petitions for your family members you intend to sponsor. You can sponsor all your eligible relatives, provided you meet the financial requirements.

Where can I get Form I-130 from?

You can download this form from the USCIS website or get it from local USCIS offices. You can also complete Form I-130 online.

How much is the Form I-130 filing fees?

Form I-130 has a filing fee of $420.

How do I pay the fees for the immigrant petition, Form I-130?

You can pay the fee through a money order or a check. Remember that cash will not be accepted by the USCIS. You must mail the immigrant petition, supporting documents, and the form filing fee together, in one package.

What is the processing time for Form I-130?

USCIS processing times vary and the processing times for US citizens and permanent residents are both different. USCIS will adjudicate the applications filed by US citizens on behalf of their spouses and immediate relatives within a year. But the spouses of Green Card holders and other relatives of US citizens, will have to wait for years to get their petitions approved.

What is the process of filing Form I-130?

US citizens and the permanent residents must both complete Form I-130 and mail it along with all the required supporting documents, to the respective USCIS office in the United States. If the beneficiary is in America, he/she can apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 and become a permanent resident. If the beneficiary is abroad, he/she must go through consular processing.

Can I file Form I-130 while abroad?

You can file this form while in a foreign country. You can file it through an overseas US Embassy or Consulate.

Why should the sponsor file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, along with Form I-130?

US citizens and Green Card holders who file immigrant petitions for their relatives must file Form I-864 along with Form I-130. Apart from sponsoring the beneficiary for a Green Card, the sponsor must financially sponsor the beneficiary. An affidavit of support is a legally binding contract and by signing this form, you promise the US government that the immigrant you are sponsoring will not become a public charge.

Which affidavit of support form must accompany Form I-130?

You must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support, along with Form I-130.

Will my petition be denied if I forget to include few supporting documents?

Your petition will not be denied, in this case it will be delayed. If the supporting documents are insufficient, USCIS will send you a Request for Evidence, requesting additional supporting documents. You can then submit copies of the required documents.

Does the approval of Form I-130 mean that my relative is a permanent resident?

No. Approval of Form I-130 means that your relative can move to the next step and apply for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status. Your relative can apply for an immigrant visa, if he/she is abroad or for adjustment of status if he/she is in the United States, followed by the approval of the immigrant petition filed by you.

Will my relative be required to appear for an interview?

Yes. Your relative will be interviewed by an overseas consular officer while applying for an immigrant visa or by a USCIS officer while applying for adjustment of status. Prior to getting a Green Card, your relative will be interviewed, at some time or the other.

Do I have appear for the interview with my relative?

If your relative is abroad and if he or she going through Consular Processing, you need not be present with your relative for the interview. But you need to be present with the beneficiary, if your relative is in America and is applying for adjustment of status.

Will my relative get a Green Card soon after the interview?

No. A Green Card will not be issued immediately. If your relative is abroad, an immigrant visa will be issued to him/her. With that visa your relative can travel to the United States and then get a Green Card. If your relative is in America, after the approval of Form I-130 and I-485 and after the interview, can get his/her passport stamped. The I-551 stamp on the passport will help your relative to establish that he/she is a permanent resident. Your relative can use that as a proof of status, until a Green Card is issued.

How long is an immigrant visa good for?

Immigrant visas are good only for a six month period. Your relative must get into the United States within that six month period.

What if the USCIS denies my I-130 petition?

USCIS will inform you of its decision in writing. However, you can appeal if the USCIS denies your petition. But USCIS very rarely denies I-130 petitions.

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