Form I-130, also known as the “Petition for Alien Relative,” is an immigration form filed by a U.S. citizen or a green card holder to petition certain family members for permanent residency in the U.S.
The purpose of Form I-130 is to establish the qualifying relationship between the petitioner and the foreign national relative they want to sponsor for immigration.
U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor is called “Petitioner”, a foreign born relative being sponsored for permanent residence is called “Beneficiary”.
Filing Form I-130 is the first step in the process of family-based immigration.
When submitting Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you need to include various supporting documents to establish the qualifying relationship between the petitioner and the foreign national relative.
Keep in mind that petitioners are required to provide a photocopy of each required document only. If you submit an original document, USCIS may retain it for its records or destroy it.
All documents must be translated into English along with a certification that the translation is accurate and the translator is competent to translate.
Below is the general list of documents that must be submitted with Form I-130:
- Evidence of U.S. citizenship (at least one of the following):
- Birth certificate if born in the United States;
- Certificate of naturalization;
- Certificate of citizenship;
- Valid unexpired U.S. passport; or
- Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen (only if ever obtained a Consular Report of Birth Abroad)
- Proof of permanent resident status (if petitioner is a permanent resident):
- Copy of a green card (front and back);
- Stamped immigrant visa page
- Evidence of the family relationship:
- If sponsoring a spouse:
- Marriage certificate
- Proof that previous marriages were terminated (if any spouse was married previously): divorce decree, annulment decree, death certificate
- Proof of good faith marriage
- If sponsoring a spouse:
- If sponsoring a child:
- Child’s birth certificate listing the petitioner as a parent
- If sponsoring a mother:
- Petitioner’s birth certificate bearing the name of the mother
- If sponsoring a father:
- Petitioner’s birth certificate bearing the father’s name
- Marriage certificate showing the father’s marriage to the petitioner’s mother
- Only if petitioner was born out of wedlock: evidence of legitimation (court degree of legitimation, proof that the country where the child was born draws no legal distinction between children born in or out of wedlock)
- If a legitimation document isn’t available: evidence of child-father relationship before the child turned 21 (examples: custody, child support payments, etc.)
- If sponsoring a sister or brother:
- Petitioner’s and the beneficiary’s birth certificates showing at least one parent in common
- Marriage certificates of the parent(s), prior divorce
- decrees, and evidence of legitimation for children born out of wedlock
- Completed and signed Form I-130A (only if sponsoring a spouse)
- The latest edition of Form I-130A
- If filing I-130 online, a signed Form I-130A in pdf format must be uploaded to I-130 online application
- U.S. passport-style photographs of petitioner and beneficiary (only if sponsoring a spouse)
- If filing online – 1 digital photograph of each spouse
- If filing hard copy by mail – two (2) identical US passport style photographs of each spouse
- Form I-130 filing fee ($535)
- If filing online – a credit card payment
- If filing hard copy by mail – a personal check, cashier’s check, money order or credit card payment authorization (Form G-1450)
We recommend making a copy of the application filed for your records.
Form I-130 can be either filed online and mailed to USCIS service center.
If filing online:
- An USCIS online account is required for petitioners. A new account can be created here
If filing by mail:
- Check the most current mailing address on Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-130
- Find the state or country of your residence
- If you will be mailing the application via USPS, choose the address for “U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries”
- If you will be mailing the application via FedEx, DHL or UPS, choose the address for “FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries”
- If you want to receive an email notification or text message with the USCIS receipt number, fill out and submit Form G-1145. USCIS will send a text message or email with the I-130 receipt number within 10 days after the submission date (check spam folder)
Forms I-130 filed online will be registered the same day. Form I-130 will be available in your online USCIS account. The hard copy will arrive by mail later.
Forms I-130 submitted by mail take about 1-2 weeks to be registered by USCIS. Hard copy USCIS notices will arrive 2 weeks after the submission date by mail.