If you want to help a family member immigrate to the United States, the first thing to do is to fill out and submit a petition for alien relative form I-130 also known as ‘Petition for Alien Relatives. Form I-130 is used to prove that a valid family relationship exists between a United States citizen and a foreign national looking to immigrate to the United States. It is always processed by the USCIS Here’s everything you need to know about Form I-130.
- Family Members Entitled
The form is usually filed by the sponsor who is the green card holder on behalf of their foreign national family member. The family members entitled to this form are spouses, siblings, parents, and unmarried children under the age of 21.
- Documents Required to File
Specific documents are required to file a Form I-130. Supporting documents such as birth certificate, green card, citizenship certificate, a copy of your passport, and evidence that family relationship exists.
- Obtaining The Form
A copy of the file can be downloaded from the USCIS website. You can also have it mailed to you by calling USCIS customer service.
- Filling The Form
All information must be accurate and typed in black ink. Only handwritten signatures are accepted by the USCIS and provide original documents if requested.
- Filing Fee
The filing fee for Form I-130 is $535 which will be submitted with the petition. Biometrics can be sometimes required and a fee of an additional $85 will be paid before the screening appointment. All these fees can be paid with a check or money order.
- Processing Time
The processing time depends on the family relationship and the USCIS field office that receives your form. For immediate family members like spouses, unmarried children, and parents processing time takes up to 7 to 15 months while it takes much longer for other family members like siblings.
- Interview For I-130
The USCIS usually invites both the sponsor and the relative seeking the green card to attend an interview. The interview is to confirm the information provided. If you are filing for your parents or unmarried children under the age of 21, then an interview is not needed.
- If Form I-130 is Approved
An approved Form I-130 is not a visa. Once the form has been approved, an application for a green card is now possible. It is important to note that an approved form does not give the right to work or own businesses.
- If Form I-130 is Denied
Form I-130 can be denied due to many reasons. If your application is denied, you will receive Form 1-797 in the mail which is called ‘Notice of Action’. A denied form can be appealed to a separate agency called the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The appeal must be sent within 30 days from when the notice was sent and not from when the notice was received.
In summary, sponsoring your family member for a green card is just the first step towards the obtaining process. The requirements for the petition can be complex but consulting an immigration attorney will help with its intricacy.