I-130 Family Petition

A family petition, Form I-130, establishes the family relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary. To obtain a green card through a family member, the family petition, I-130 form is one of the main requirements of the immigration process. 

What is the purpose of the Family Petition?

A family petition is filed by using form I-130. The family petition is the first step to obtaining a green card in the U.S. The U.S. citizen and Immigration Services “USCIS”, require that the applicant of the I-130 family petition prove through a preponderance of the evidence the family relationship between the beneficiary and the petitioner.   

For example, a U.S. citizen spouse petitioning a non- citizen spouse must show through documentary evidence that the marriage was entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of obtaining a green card.   Evidence is a key requirement to support an I-130 family petition with USCIS, as it is the applicant’s burden of proof to show the family relationship. A stand alone family petition, Form I-130, is not a green card and it will not grant on it’s own the benefit of a work permit/employment authorization document. 

After the approval for a family petition, Form I-130, USCIS will categorize your petition in one of two categories.

Category 1:  IMMEDIATE RELATIVE PETITIONS

Immediate relative petitions are those in which the petitioner is:

  1. A U.S. citizen spouse
  2. A child over the age of 21
  3. U.S citizen parent petitioning a minor child

Immediate relative petitions are immediately available for use and are not subject to the Department of State Visa Bulletin waiting times.

Category 2: PETITIONS SUBJECT TO THE VISA BULLETIN 

The visa bulletin publishes on a monthly basis the priority dates of each visa category. The categories of the visa bulletin are divided into:

  1. A petition from a lawful permanent resident spouse
  2. A petition from a lawful permanent resident parent petitioning an unmarried child
  3. A petition from a U.S. citizen parent petitioning a child over the age of 21
  4. A petition from a U.S. citizen sibling

Is a family petition right for you?

Who is eligible to file a family petition, form I-130 with USCIS?

To qualify for an I-130 family petition you must be the spouse of a U.S citizen or green card holder, the parent of a U.S. citizen over the age of 21, the unmarried son or daughter of a green card holder parent, the child of a U.S. citizen parent or the sibling of a U.S. citizen brother or sister. 

Stepparents can be petitioner or beneficiaries of an I-130 family petition so long as the stepparent/ stepchild relationship was established before the stepchild turned 18 years of age. Moreover, children who are adopted also qualify, if the adoptive parents finalized the adoption before the child turned 16 years of age.  All cases are different and eligibility is subject to exceptions. 

PROS & CONS

Filing an I-130 family petition with USCIS in some cases is beneficial to the applicant.  However, in certain cases the I-130 family petition may not be in the best interest of the applicants case. 

Consult an immigration expert if you have any immigration history in your record, if you are in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge, or you have been denied an I-130 family petition in the past.  The I-130 family petition must be navigated with caution with the expertise of an immigration attorney.

How much does an I-130 Family Petition Cost?

The current cost of the I-130 family petition is $535.00 paid to the Department of Homeland Security. Payment in full must be issued to USCIS with a complete application to avoid denial. 

How to file Form I-130 with USCIS?

The I-130 family petition is filed with USCIS with a $535.00 filing me and all the relevant evidence.  The I-130 Form must be completed without error as USCIS policy requires them to reject or in certain cases deny the application.   If the I-130 family petition is denied the filing fee will not be reimbursed by USCIS and a immigration court referral may be issued. Every immigration process must be completed by an attorney with expertise in the field of immigration law