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Form I-130 Made Simple: Key Takeaways


If you're considering filing Form I-130, commonly known as the "Petition for Alien Relative," understanding the process, requirements, and timelines is crucial. Here at KPB Immigration Law Firm, we strive to provide comprehensive guidance to individuals and families navigating the complexities of U.S. immigration law. Below, we break down essential information about the Form I-130.

What is Form I-130?

Form I-130 is the initial step in the family-based green card application process. It serves to establish a valid family relationship between a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and a foreign national seeking permanent residency in the United States. For marriage-based green cards or spousal visas, the I-130, along with supporting documentation, is crucial in demonstrating the authenticity of the marital relationship to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Processing and Approval Times

Understanding the processing and approval times for Form I-130 is essential for planning your immigration journey. On average, the approval process for Form I-130 takes approximately 11 months. However, the timeline may vary based on factors such as the type of family relationship and the applicant's location.

For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, unmarried children under 21, or parents living abroad, the average processing time ranges from 13.5 to 15 months. Similarly, immediate relatives of green card holders may experience processing times varying from 29 to 40 months.

Strategies for Expediting Processing

While processing times for immigration petitions have increased in recent years, several strategies can potentially expedite the approval of your Form I-130:

  • Submit a thorough and accurate application with all required documentation.
  • Consider filing an expedited request with USCIS, accompanied by compelling reasons for expedited processing.
  • Seek assistance from congressional representatives to advocate for expedited processing.
  • Stay informed and regularly check the status of your petition through USCIS online tools or direct communication.

Form I-130 Cost and Fee Changes

As of April 1, 2024, the filing fee for Form I-130 will increase from $675 to $675 for paper filing and $625 for online filing. It's essential to submit the exact filing fee amount and stay updated on fee changes through USCIS official channels.

Eligibility and Required Documents

Determining eligibility for Form I-130 and assembling the necessary documentation are crucial steps in the process. U.S. citizens can file I-130 petitions for spouses, children, parents, and siblings, while green card holders can file petitions for spouses and unmarried children.

Required supporting documents typically include proof of the sponsor's citizenship or lawful permanent residency, evidence of a valid relationship, and documentation to refute fraudulent claims. Alternative documents may be accepted in cases where primary documents are unavailable.

Next Steps After I-130 Approval

Upon approval of Form I-130, eligible relatives can proceed with their green card application process. Immediate relatives may apply for a green card without waiting, while others may need to wait for priority dates to become current. Adjustment of status using Form I-485 is available for certain applicants already in the United States.

How KPB Immigration Law Firm can assist you

Navigating the complexities of Form I-130 and the family-based immigration process requires attention to detail and adherence to USCIS guidelines. At KPB Immigration Law Firm, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to providing personalized assistance and guidance at every step of your immigration journey. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your immigration goals.