Who is eligible to file Form I-130?
Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” is filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) to establish the qualifying family relationship with a foreign national who intends to immigrate to the United States as a family member. The petitioner initiates the immigration process by submitting Form I-130 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The following individuals are generally eligible to file Form I-130:
- S. Citizens: U.S. citizens can file Form I-130 to petition for the immigration of certain family members, including:
- Unmarried children under 21
- Parents (if the petitioner is at least 21 years old)
- Married children of any age (Family Preference Category 1)
- Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders): Lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can file Form I-130 to petition for the immigration of certain family members, including:
- Unmarried children under 21
It’s important to note that the availability of immigrant visas in certain categories, such as family preference categories, can be subject to numerical limits. This means that there might be a waiting period before the intending immigrant can actually apply for a green card, even after Form I-130 is approved.
Additionally, eligibility requirements and immigration policies can change, so it’s recommended to check the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information about who can file Form I-130 and the specific categories of family members that can be sponsored.
When filing Form I-130, the petitioner must provide supporting documentation to establish the qualifying family relationship, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other relevant documents. The form must also be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee.
What documents must be submitted with Form I-130?
When filing Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” to sponsor a family member for immigration to the United States, you must provide supporting documentation to establish the qualifying family relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant. The specific documents required will vary depending on the relationship being claimed and the individual circumstances of the case. Here are the general types of documents that might be required:
- Proof of Identity and U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency: The petitioner (U.S. citizen or green card holder) needs to provide proof of their identity and status, such as a copy of their U.S. passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or green card.
- Proof of Qualifying Relationship: Documentation to establish the qualifying family relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant. This can include:
- Marriage certificates for spouses
- Birth certificates for children
- Proof of parent-child relationship (birth certificates, adoption decrees, etc.)
- Proof of sibling relationship (birth certificates showing shared parents, etc.)
- Proof of Legal Name Changes: If either the petitioner or the intending immigrant has changed their legal name, documentation of the name change (court orders, marriage certificates, etc.) may be required.
- Translation of Documents: If any documents are not in English, you will likely need to provide certified translations along with the original documents.
- Proof of Termination of Previous Marriages: If either the petitioner or the intending immigrant has been married before, documentation of the legal termination of previous marriages (divorce decrees, death certificates, etc.) might be required.
- Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): This form is required to demonstrate the petitioner’s financial ability to support the intending immigrant. It includes information about the petitioner’s income, assets, and liabilities.
- Filing Fee: The appropriate filing fee for Form I-130 must be included with the application.
It’s important to note that the specific documentation requirements can vary based on the relationship being claimed and the individual circumstances of the case. USCIS may request additional documentation or evidence as needed to establish the relationship. Additionally, USCIS may update their documentation requirements over time, so it’s advisable to refer to the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information about the required documents for Form I-130.
Can I file Form I-130 online?
Yes, you can file Form I-130, “Petition for Alien Relative,” online through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS). The USCIS ELIS system allows certain petitioners to complete and submit their immigration applications and petitions online, including Form I-130.
Here are the general steps for filing Form I-130 online:
- Create USCIS ELIS Account: To start the process, you need to create an account on the USCIS ELIS website.
- Access Form I-130: Once you have an account, you can log in to USCIS ELIS and access Form I-130. Follow the instructions provided to complete the form online.
- Upload Supporting Documents: USCIS ELIS allows you to upload supporting documents directly to your application. Make sure to scan and upload the required documents according to the guidelines provided.
- Pay Filing Fee: You will need to pay the filing fee online using a credit card or electronic funds transfer.
- Submit Application: Review your completed application and uploaded documents to ensure accuracy. Once everything is ready, submit your application electronically.
- Receive Confirmation: After submitting your application, you should receive a confirmation notice indicating that USCIS has received your Form I-130 application.
It’s important to note that not all applicants may be eligible to file Form I-130 online through USCIS ELIS. Eligibility can depend on various factors, including the category of the petition, the relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant, and USCIS policies. Additionally, USCIS may update its online filing options and procedures, so it’s recommended to visit the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information on filing Form I-130 online.
If online filing is not available to you or if you prefer to file a paper version of Form I-130, you can still submit the paper form and required documents by mail to the appropriate USCIS address.