Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition

Form I-730, RefugeeAsylee Relative Petition

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What is Form I-730?

Form I-730, officially known as the “Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition,” is an immigration form used by asylees and refugees to request permission for their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to join them in the U.S.

The petitioner must have been admitted to the U.S. as a refugee or granted asylum.

Here are some key points about Form I-730:

  • Purpose: The primary purpose of Form I-730 is to reunite asylees and refugees with their spouses and children in the U.S.
  • Eligibility: To be eligible to file Form I-730, the petitioner (the principal asylee or refugee) must have been granted asylum or admitted to the U.S. as a refugee. The petition must be filed within two years of the principal petitioner being granted asylum or admitted as a refugee.
  • Derivative Beneficiaries: The form is used to request derivative asylum or refugee status for qualifying family members – spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old.
  • Filing Location: Form I-730 is filed with USCIS. The petitioner must submit the form along with supporting documentation.

Who can file Form I-730?

Form I-730, officially known as the “Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition,” can be filed by individuals who have been:

  • Granted asylum in the U.S., or 
  • Admitted to the U.S. as refugees. 

The person filing the form is referred to as the “principal asylee” or the “principal refugee.” 

Here are the key criteria for filing Form I-730:

  • Principal Asylee or Refugee: The petitioner must be an individual who has been granted asylum in the U.S. or admitted as a refugee. 
  • Derivative Beneficiaries: The primary purpose of Form I-730 is to allow the principal asylee or refugee to request derivative asylum or refugee status for qualifying family members. Derivative beneficiaries include the principal petitioner’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
  • Timely Filing: The petition should be filed within two years of the principal petitioner being granted asylum or admitted as a refugee. 
  • Physical Presence in the U.S.: The principal petitioner should be physically present in the U.S. when filing Form I-730.

Who cannot file Form I-730?

The following individuals cannot file Form I-730:

  • Individuals who derived their refugee or asylee status from the principal refugee or asylee are not allowed to file Form I-730. Such individuals might need to wait until they become permanent residents to file Form I-130 to sponsor a spouse or child.
  • You are the principal asylee/refugee but your asylum/refugee status was granted more than 2 years ago
  • Principal asylee/refugee obtained U.S. citizenship. In this case, Form I-130 for each family member must be filed instead

What to do if principal asylee/refugee missed the 2-year deadline to file Form I-730?

If the principal asylee or refugee missed the two-year deadline to file Form I-730, USCIS may waive this requirement for humanitarian reasons. How to apply for a waiver of the two-year filing requirement:

Explain the Delay:

  • Provide a detailed explanation for the delay in filing Form I-730. If there are compelling reasons for missing the deadline, such as medical issues, family emergencies, or other extraordinary circumstances, include this information in a cover letter.

Document Compelling Circumstances:

  • Gather any relevant documentation that supports the explanation for the delay. This may include medical records, affidavits, or other evidence.

File as Soon as Possible:

  • Even if the two-year deadline has passed, it’s advisable to file Form I-730 as soon as possible. USCIS may still accept the application and consider the circumstances surrounding the delay.

Do I need to file separate Form I-730s for each family member?

Yes. A separate Form I-730 must be filed for each family member and each form must be submitted to USCIS within 2 years of the date asylum or refugee status was granted.

Form I-730 application overview (step-by-step)

Filing Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, involves the following steps:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria to file Form I-730:

  • You must be an asylee or refugee physically present in the U.S.
  • Your asylum or refugee status was granted in the last 2 years
  • You want to sponsor your spouse or unmarried child (under 21 years old)

Step 2: Gather Supporting Documents

Collect all required documents, see the checklist of documents below.

Step 3: Complete Form I-730

Fill out Form I-730 accurately for each family member separately. Answer all questions on the form. Ensure that you sign and date the form.

Step 4: Assemble the Application Package

Organize your application package, including the completed Form I-730 and all supporting documents. Make copies of all documents for your records.

Step 5: Mail the Application

Mail the completed application package to the correct USCIS service center. 

USCIS periodically updates its filing addresses, so it’s essential to check the most recent filing instructions on the USCIS Form I-730 page (see “Where to File” section).

Step 6: Receive USCIS Receipt Notice

After USCIS receives your application, they will send a receipt notice confirming that they have received your Form I-730. 

This notice will include a receipt number that you can use to track the status of your case online.

Step 7: Biometrics Appointment (if applicable)

If the beneficiary is in the U.S., USCIS will schedule biometric appointment. Attending the biometric appointment is mandatory. Failure to provide biometric information might lead to denial of Form I-730.

Step 8. USCIS interview (if applicable)

Most interviews for Form I-730 beneficiaries who are physically present in the US are waived. However, USCIS still can schedule an interview at the USCIS office which the beneficiary must attend. The petitioner might be required to attend the interview too. Follow the instructions provided in the USCIS interview notice.

Step 9: USCIS Processing

USCIS will review your application. If additional evidence is needed, they may request it. USCIS will make a decision on the Form I-730 and mail you the decision notice.

Step 10: USCIS Decision

If Forms I-730 is approved, eligible family members physically present in the U.S. will be granted derivative asylum status.

If the beneficiaries are outside the U.S., an interview at the US Embassy or Consulate will be scheduled.

Step 11. US Embassy/Consulate Interview

If the beneficiary is outside the U.S., the beneficiary will attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

Interview notice with the date, time and location of the interview will be sent via email to the petitioner and beneficiary. Follow the instructions provided in the email.

Beneficiaries will need to complete medical examinations prior to their interview.

If the immigrant visa is approved, the beneficiaries must enter the U.S. before the expiration date of their visas.

Form I-730 filing fee

There is no filing fee to submit Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition.

Form I-730 checklist of required documents

In Form I-730 applications, the principal asylee/refugee is called “Petitioner” and the family member being sponsored is called “Beneficiary”.

The following documents must be submitted with Form I-730 application:

Evidence

Examples of acceptable documents

(Submit PHOTOCOPIES only)

Signed and completed Form I-730 (separate form for each family member)
  • The form must be signed in ink and dated
  • You must use the most recent edition of Form I-730 available on the USCIS website
  • USCIS will reject any outdated editions or unsigned/undated forms
Passport-style photograph
  • One passport-style photograph of the applicant 
  • Applicant’s name, A-number (if any) or date of birth must be written on the back of photograph
Evidence of asylum/refugee status Documents confirming that the principal asylee/refugee was granted asylum/refugee status, for example:

  • USCIS asylum approval letter;
  • Immigration court decision granting asylum
  • I-94 form confirming granted asylum status
Proof of marital relationship If sponsoring a spouse:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Proof of termination of previous marriages (divorce decree, annulment decree, death certificates) for petitioner and beneficiary
Proof of parent-child relationship If sponsoring an unmarried child under 21:

  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate of child’s parents
  • If adopted – adoption decree
Secondary evidence of relationship If primary evidence of marital or parent-child relationship is unavailable, secondary evidence of relationship:

  • Religious records (baptism certificate, religious marriage certificate)
  • Educational records
  • School records
  • Census records
  • Sworn affidavits

If no secondary evidence of parent-child relationship is available, DNA testing results can be submitted:

  • DNA test must be completed by a laboratory accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
Birth certificate
  • Beneficiary’s birth certificate
Photo ID Beneficiary’s photo ID:

  • Passport
  • National ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Any other government-issued photo ID
Form I-94 Only if the beneficiary is in the U.S.:

  • I-94 record
  • CBP stamp
  • US visa
  • Passport that was used during the most recent entry into the U.S.
Certified English translation
  • All documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by certified English translation
  • Attach copies of original documents in a foreign language too

Where to send Form I-730 application

You should send your completed Form I-730 application to the correct USCIS service center. 

USCIS periodically updates its filing addresses, so it’s essential to check the most recent filing instructions on the USCIS Form I-730 page (see “Where to File” section).

Form I-730 processing times

It can take up to 29 months for USCIS to process Form I-730 application.

However, some applications are processed faster than this estimated timeline.

Processing times can vary based on factors such as the volume of applications, complexity of individual cases, and resource availability.

For the most up-to-date information on processing times, you can check the USCIS website’s Case Processing Times page at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

Select the form type “I-730” and the field office or service center processing your application to get an estimate of the current processing times.

Related Links:

Asylum (Requirements, How to Apply)

Refugee (Requirements, How to Apply)