If you’re a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident looking to bring your family members to the United States, you may need to file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
Filing Form I-130 is a crucial step in sponsoring a family member for an immigrant visa or green card. In this article, we will discuss some FAQs about I-130 processing time, including who is eligible, the filing fee, and if you can expedite the process.
What is Form I-130?
Form I-130 is a petition to establish the relationship between a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and their foreign national family member. It is for petitioning certain eligible relatives to live permanently in the United States. The form is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
In the context of a spousal visa or marriage visa, filing I-130 proves your marriage is valid based on your marriage certificate. This petition is also the stage of getting a marriage-based green card wherein you must submit additional documents to prove your marriage is not a fraud. These documents may include photos together, joint insurance documents, and joint bank account statements.
The I-130 petition will also establish your line for any available green card. Unless you are the parent, spouse, or unmarried child of a U.S. citizen, your place of line will be determined by your priority date. This refers to the date the USCIS received your petition.
Important Note: Filing Form I-130 does not guarantee immigrant visas or green cards for your family members. The process involves additional steps, including the visa application and interview, background checks, and medical exams.
Who are Eligible to File Form I-130?
U.S. citizens can file Form I-130 for an immediate relative (parents, spouse, children, and siblings). Green card holders may also file this petition for their unmarried children and spouse.
The green card holder or U.S. citizen filing the I-130 petition is called the “sponsor” or “petitioner.” On the other hand, the person who wants to get a green card is called the “beneficiary.”
Who aren’t eligible to file?
But even if family relationships exist, eligibility exclusions may prevent you from filing an I-130 petition. These include:
- A biological parent, if you obtained U.S. citizenship or got a green card through adoption
- A grandchild, grandparent, niece, nephew, cousin, aunt, uncle, or parent-in-law
- A stepchild or stepparent when the marriage that created the step relationship was after the child reached 18 years old
- An adopted child or adoptive parent when the child was adopted after they became 16 years old
- A spouse if you and your spouse weren’t physically present at the marriage ceremony or if you married while your spouse was part of an immigration court proceeding
- A relative if USCIS determined that he or she married or attempted to marry for immigration purposes
Important Note: There are exceptions to some of these exclusions, and you might be able to file Form I-130 with the required supporting documents in those circumstances.
How Long Will it Take to Process Form I-130?
The processing time for Form I-130 varies depending on several factors, such as:
- the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary
- the backlog of applications at the USCIS
- the USCIS service center handling the petition
Typically, the processing time can range from 14.5 months to 37.5 months.
You can check the current processing times on the USCIS website by selecting the appropriate form and USCIS office. Keep in mind that these are estimated processing times and can change without notice.
What is the Fee Associated With Filing Form I-130?
The filing fee for Form I-130 is currently $535. This fee is subject to change, so checking the USCIS website for the most current fee is important.
You may use the USCIS fee calculator to determine the cost of your petition, including tips on how to make payment.
Is there any way of Expediting the Processing Time of an I-130 petition?
Yes. You may send a special request to USCIS to expedite the process of your I-130 petition. According to the, they will only expedite your petition for the following reasons:
- Urgent humanitarian reasons or emergencies
- Severe financial loss to a person or company provided that the need for urgent action isn’t because of the applicant’s failure to file the request or respond to the request for additional evidence
- A nonprofit organization filing request for continuance of the social or cultural interests of the U.S.
- Clear USCIS error
- S. government interest
You may check the status of your case online using the receipt number from your receipt notice.
Read Also: ADD PHOTOS ON PDF
Form I-130 is an essential form for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who want to bring their eligible family members to the United States. The process can be lengthy and complex, but by understanding the eligibility requirements, required documents, filing fees, and processing times, you can ensure a smooth and successful petition.
If you have any questions or concerns about Form I-130, immigrant visa petitions, or the immigration process in general, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer for guidance.