The official name for an I-130 form is “Petition for Alien Relative.” This form is used to establish a family relationship between a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident and someone seeking to become a lawful permanent resident.
People commonly call this form the “I-130 petition,” and filing this form is the first step in the process of becoming a lawful permanent resident and gaining a marriage- or family-based green card.
Am I Qualified to File an I-130?
U.S. citizens can file an I-130 petition for a spouse, parent, child, or sibling. If you are currently a green card holder, you can file a form I-130 for your spouse or unmarried children.
The citizen or green card holder is the “petitioner,” while the person seeking the green card is the “beneficiary.” As a U.S. citizen or green card holder, if you married a non-citizen, you must prove your marriage is valid, authentic, and not based on fraud.
How Do I Prove My Marriage is Valid?
You must provide a copy of your marriage certificate, proof of termination of prior marriages, and evidence that you intend to establish a life together. It is helpful to demonstrate a commingling of your finances, such as joint bank statements and insurance documents. Photos together, affidavits from individuals with knowledge of your relationship, and tickets for trips taken together are also helpful.
How Long Will it Take to be Approved?
Wait times vary and will depend on the number of visas available in your preference category. Filing the I-130 petition automatically gives you a place in line for an available green card. However, if you are a spouse, parent, or unmarried child (under 21) of a U.S citizen, you are an “immediate relative,” which is not subject to quota limits, and you will not have to wait as long for your petition to be approved.
Who is Ineligible to File a Form I-130?
Sometimes, exclusions prevent a sponsor from filing an I-130 petition, even when a family relationship exists. You cannot use a form I-130 to sponsor:
- Your nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, cousin, grandparent, grandchild, or parent-in-law
- Your spouse, IF you married while your spouse was in removal proceedings, unless you request an exemption under INA 204(g)
- Your adoptive parent
- Your adopted child, IF you adopted the child after he or she turned 16
- Your biological parent, IF you became a green card holder or U.S. citizen via adoption
- A stepparent or stepchild, IF the marriage that created the step relationship happened after the child turned 18
What Supporting Documents Do I Need to File an I-130?
When you file an I-130 petition, you need supporting documents to prove the petitioner is eligible to file an I-130 and that the petitioner has a qualifying family relationship with the person seeking a green card.
The supporting documents for an I-130 petition can include those that prove:
- The status of the petitioner as a U.S. citizen or green card holder
- A legally valid family or spousal relationship
- The relationship is true as claimed
- Any name changes for the sponsor and/or person seeking the green card
- Nationality of the person seeking a green card
Contact an Experienced Florida Immigration Services Law Firm Today
We know that trying to get a green card for your loved one can be stressful and complicated. Mistakes can lead to delays or rejection. That’s why we help you gather the forms and supporting documentation you need and work to ensure information is submitted correctly to avoid needless problems. To get the process started today, call the immigration law team of Robert M. Bell, P.A., at (954) 241-4209.