What is Form I-130?
Form I-130, officially titled “Petition for Alien Relative,” is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form used to establish the qualifying relationship between a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) petitioner and a foreign national who wishes to immigrate to the United States as a family member. The primary purpose of Form I-130 is to initiate the process of family-based immigration by demonstrating the family relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant.
Form I-130 is commonly used in various family-based immigration scenarios, including sponsoring spouses, children, parents, and siblings for immigration to the United States. In the context of a marriage-based green card application, Form I-130 is filed by a U.S. citizen or green card holder who wishes to sponsor their foreign national spouse for lawful permanent residency.
Here are the key details about Form I-130:
- Purpose: To establish the qualifying family relationship between the petitioner (U.S. citizen or green card holder) and the intending immigrant (spouse, child, parent, or sibling).
- Filing Process: The petitioner fills out and submits Form I-130 to USCIS. The form can be submitted electronically (online) or by mail, depending on the petitioner’s eligibility and preference.
- Supporting Documentation: Along with Form I-130, the petitioner must provide supporting documentation that demonstrates the validity of the family relationship. This may include marriage certificates, birth certificates, and other relevant documents.
- Filing Fee: There is a filing fee associated with Form I-130. The fee amount can change over time, so it’s important to check the USCIS website for the most current fee information.
- Processing Time: USCIS processes Form I-130 to verify the relationship and approve the petition if it meets the requirements. Processing times can vary depending on factors such as the USCIS workload and the complexity of the case.
- Next Steps: Once Form I-130 is approved, the case may proceed to the next stage of the immigration process, depending on whether the intending immigrant is applying for a marriage-based green card from within the U.S. (adjustment of status) or from abroad (consular processing).
It’s important to note that Form I-130 is the initial step in the family-based immigration process. After approval, further forms and steps will be required to complete the immigration application. Immigration policies and procedures can change, so it’s recommended to refer to the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding Form I-130 and the overall immigration process.
What is the cost to petition a relative using Form I-130?
The filing fee to petition a relative using Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” can vary based on the relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant, as well as whether the petitioner is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). Keep in mind that these fees can change over time, so it’s important to verify the current fees on the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
As of my last update, here were the filing fee categories for Form I-130:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens: The filing fee for immediate relatives, including spouses, children, and parents of U.S. citizens, was around $535.
- Family Preference Categories (Sponsored Relatives of U.S. Citizens or Green Card Holders): The filing fee for family preference categories, such as siblings and married children of U.S. citizens, was also around $535.
It’s important to note that USCIS fees are subject to change, and you should check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information on filing fees for Form I-130 and any associated forms. Additionally, some applicants may be eligible for fee waivers or reduced fees based on their financial circumstances.
When filing Form I-130, you’ll need to include the appropriate filing fee along with the completed form and supporting documentation. If you’re unsure about the correct fee or any fee waivers that may apply to your situation, consider consulting an immigration attorney or referring directly to the official USCIS website for accurate and current information.
How long does it take to get Form I-130 approved?
The processing time for Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” can vary widely based on several factors, including the relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant, the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) service center processing the application, and the overall workload of USCIS at the time.
As of my last update in September 2021, the processing times for Form I-130 varied depending on the category of the petition and the USCIS service center. USCIS provides estimated processing times for various types of applications on their website, but these times are subject to change.
Here are some general processing time considerations for Form I-130:
- Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens: Petitions for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of U.S. citizens) generally have a higher processing priority. As a result, these petitions tend to have shorter processing times compared to family preference categories.
- Family Preference Categories: Petitions for family preference categories (such as siblings or married children of U.S. citizens) may have longer processing times due to the limited number of available visas in these categories and the higher demand.
- USCIS Service Center: The specific USCIS service center processing the petition can affect processing times. Some service centers might have shorter processing times than others.
- Volume of Applications: USCIS processing times can be influenced by the overall volume of applications being received.
- Completeness and Accuracy of Application: Ensuring that the petition is complete, accurate, and includes all required documentation can help avoid delays due to requests for additional information.
- Changes in Policies or Regulations: Changes in immigration policies or regulations can impact processing times.
As a rough estimate, as of my last update:
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Several months to a year or less.
- Family preference categories: Around a year or more.
These estimates can vary, and actual processing times may differ based on the factors mentioned above. To get the most accurate and up-to-date processing time estimates for your specific situation, I recommend checking the USCIS website or contacting USCIS directly. Regularly checking for updates is advisable, as processing times can change over time.