What is the Form I-130?

Form I-130 is the form that a qualified U.S Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident files to establish his or her relationship with a relative wanting to immigrate to the United States. It is a very detailed form and at times it can feel overwhelming. 

 

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You can file Form I-130

If you’re a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States you may file form I-130 for certain relatives. Who you can file for depends on whether you are a US Citizen, a lawful permanent resident, and several other factors.

If you are a U.S. Citizen you may file form I-130 for

  • Your spouse.
  • Your unmarried children (under 21 years of age).
  • Your married or unmarried sons or daughters of any age.
  • Your siblings or parents (you must be 21 years of age or older).

If you are a Lawful permanent resident of the United States you may file form I-130 for

  • Your spouse.
  • Your unmarried children (under 21 years of age).
  • Your unmarried son or daughter.

To better illustrate you here are some examples of valid and invalid petitions of alien relatives:

Carlos is a lawful permanent resident in the United States and his brother José is interested in migrating to the U.S. Can José file form I-130 for his brother José?
  • Carlos would not be able to file petition form I-130 because only U.S. Citizens can file for siblings.
Maria is a U.S. Citizen and her mother Karen lives in Mexico. Can Karen qualify for relative status?
  • Yes, Maria can file form I-130 for her mother Karen as well as for her father, siblings, and children.
Alex is a U.S. Citizen and he married a foreign national (Melissa). Is it possible for Melissa to apply for a green card?
  • Yes, Alex can be Melissa’s petitioner and you also can be your spouse’s petitioner (as long as you’re a U.S. Citizen).

Form I-130 required documents you need to prove you are a Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident:

U.S. Citizen

  • A copy of your birth certificate, issued by a civil registrar or other civil authority showing that you were born in the United States.
  • A copy of your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS
  • A copy of Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
  • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport.
  • An original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying that you are a U.S. citizen with a valid passport.

Lawful Permanent Resident

  • A copy of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).​
  • If you have not yet received your card, submit copies of your passport biographic page and the page showing admission as a lawful permanent resident.​
  • Or other evidence of permanent resident status issued by USCIS or the former INS.​

Who May Not File Form I-130? You may NOT file Form I-130 for a person in the following categories:

1
An adoptive parent or adopted child, if the adoption took place after the child turned 16 years of age.
2
A natural parent, if you gained lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship through adoption or as a special immigrant juvenile.
3
A stepparent or stepchild, if the marriage that created the relationship took place after the child turned 18 years of age.
4
A spouse, if you and your spouse were not both physically present at the marriage ceremony unless the marriage was consummated.
5
A spouse, if you gained lawful permanent resident status through a prior marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, unless:
A. You are now a naturalized U.S. citizen;
B. You have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years; read more here
6
A spouse, if you married your spouse while a decision in any of these proceedings was before any court on judicial review.
7
Any person, if USCIS determines that he or she entered into or attempted or conspired to enter into a marriage in order to evade U.S. immigration laws.
8
A grandparent, grandchild, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, cousin, or parents-in-law.

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