How To Avoid Common Mistakes When Filling Out Form I-130

How to fill out Form I-130?

Filling out Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, involves several steps to ensure accurate and complete submission. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here’s a general guideline on how to fill out the form. Please note that the form and instructions might have been updated since then, so always refer to the most current USCIS instructions when completing the form.

  • Download the Form: Obtain the latest version of Form I-130 from the USCIS website. Make sure you’re using the correct version of the form.
  • Read the Instructions: Before you start filling out the form, carefully read the instructions provided with the form. The instructions will provide valuable guidance on how to complete each section correctly.
  • Gather Required Information and Documents:
    • Collect all necessary information about both the petitioner (U.S. citizen or green card holder) and the beneficiary (relative you’re sponsoring).
    • Prepare supporting documents, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, and any other documents that establish the family relationship.
  • Complete the Form:
    • Use black ink and write legibly. If you’re completing the form electronically, follow the instructions for online submission.
    • Provide accurate and complete information in all fields. If a question does not apply to your situation, write “N/A” or “None” as appropriate.
    • Answer all questions truthfully and honestly. Providing false information can have serious consequences.
  • Filling Out Specific Sections:
    • Part 1: Provide information about the petitioner.
    • Part 2: Provide information about the beneficiary (the relative you’re sponsoring).
    • Part 3: Indicate the family relationship being claimed.
    • Part 4: Indicate the basis of the petition (e.g., marriage, parent-child relationship, etc.).
    • Part 5: Provide information about any prior filings related to the beneficiary.
    • Part 6: Answer the questions regarding the beneficiary’s eligibility, including immigration violations.
    • Part 7: Sign and date the form. If you’re filing electronically, you will follow the online instructions for signing.
  • Include Required Documentation:
    • Include all necessary supporting documents as outlined in the instructions.
    • Make sure to provide certified translations for documents not in English.
  • Payment of Fees:
    • Include the appropriate filing fee with the form, if applicable. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount and payment instructions.
  • Review and Double-Check:
    • Before submitting, review the form and all attached documents for accuracy and completeness. Mistakes could lead to processing delays or even denials.
  • Submit the Form:
    • If filing by mail, send the completed form, documents, and payment to the address specified in the instructions.
    • If filing online, follow the USCIS instructions for submitting the form electronically.

Remember, the information provided here is a general guideline. Always consult the most current Form I-130 instructions provided by USCIS to ensure that you’re following the latest requirements and procedures. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the form or the process, you might consider seeking assistance from an immigration attorney or a reputable immigration consultant.

Can I file Form I-130 online?

Yes, you can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, online through the USCIS Electronic Immigration System. USCIS introduced an online filing option for certain immigration forms, including Form I-130. Filing online can offer convenience, quicker processing, and the ability to track the status of your application.

Here’s a general overview of how to file Form I-130 online:

  • Create a USCIS Online Account: To start the online filing process, you’ll need to create a USCIS online account. Visit the USCIS website and follow the instructions to set up your account.
  • Access USCIS ELIS: Once your account is created, log in to your USCIS online account and navigate to the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS).
  • Select Form I-130: Within USCIS ELIS, you’ll find options to select the appropriate form. Choose Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
  • Complete the Form Online: Follow the prompts to complete the form online. The system will guide you through each section, and you’ll need to enter the required information accurately.
  • Upload Supporting Documents: You’ll be prompted to upload scanned copies of supporting documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other evidence of the family relationship.
  • Review and Pay: Once you’ve completed the form and uploaded the necessary documents, review the information carefully. You’ll also need to pay the filing fee using a valid payment method.
  • Submit the Form: After reviewing and paying, you can electronically sign and submit the form through USCIS ELIS.
  • Receive Confirmation: After submitting the form, you should receive a confirmation or receipt notice electronically through your USCIS online account.

We recommend visiting the official USCIS website and accessing USCIS ELIS to get the most current and accurate information on how to file Form I-130 online. Always follow the instructions provided by USCIS to ensure a smooth and successful online filing experience.

What is the checklist of required documents for Form I-130?

The required documents for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary depending on the relationship being claimed and the circumstances of the petitioner and beneficiary. However, here’s a general checklist of commonly required documents to consider when preparing your I-130 petition package. Please keep in mind that this is a general guideline, and you should refer to the most current USCIS instructions and requirements for Form I-130 for your specific situation:

  • Form I-130:
    • Completed and signed Form I-130.
  • Payment of Filing Fee:
    • Include the appropriate filing fee with your petition. Check the USCIS website for the most current fee amount and payment methods.
  • Proof of Petitioner’s Identity and Citizenship or Permanent Residency:
    • Copy of U.S. passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or green card (both sides).
  • Proof of Beneficiary’s Identity:
    • Copy of beneficiary’s passport or other government-issued identification.
  • Proof of Family Relationship:
    • Marriage certificate (for spouse petitions)
    • Birth certificates (for child petitions)
    • Adoption decrees (if applicable)
    • Other relevant documents establishing the claimed family relationship.
  • Passport-Style Photos:
    • Typically, passport-style photos of the beneficiary.
  • Certified Translations (if applicable):
    • If any documents are not in English, provide certified translations.
  • Proof of Legally Terminated Prior Marriages (if applicable):
    • Divorce decrees or death certificates to establish that prior marriages have been legally terminated.
  • Additional Documentation (if applicable):
    • Proof of shared residence, joint financial accounts, and other evidence of a bona fide relationship (especially for spouse petitions).
    • Affidavits from friends, family members, or other individuals who can attest to the authenticity of the relationship.
    • Proof of name changes, if applicable.
  • USCIS Online Account (if filing online):
  • If filing Form I-130 online, create a USCIS online account.

Remember, this is a general checklist, and the specific documents required can vary based on the type of relationship you’re petitioning for and any additional circumstances. Always refer to the most current Form I-130 instructions provided by USCIS for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

It’s advisable to organize your documents in a clear and orderly manner to make it easier for USCIS officers to review your petition. Including a cover letter summarizing the contents of your petition package can also be helpful. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the required documents, you might consider seeking assistance from an immigration attorney or consultant.

What is the Form I-130 government filing fee?

The government filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, varies depending on the petitioner’s relationship to the beneficiary and other factors. USCIS fees are subject to change, so I recommend checking the most current USCIS fee schedule for the latest information.

As of my last update, here’s a general breakdown of the government filing fee for Form I-130 based on the petitioner’s relationship to the beneficiary:

  • S. Citizen Filing for a Spouse, Parent, or Child Under 21:
    • The fee for Form I-130 in this category was one amount.
  • S. Citizen Filing for a Family Preference Category (e.g., Sibling, Married Child):
    • The fee for Form I-130 in this category was typically higher than the fee for immediate relatives.
  • Green Card Holder Filing for a Spouse or Unmarried Child:
    • The fee for Form I-130 in this category was generally different from that for U.S. citizens.

Please note that these are general categories, and fees may also be influenced by other factors such as the petitioner’s age and immigration status. Additionally, USCIS might offer reduced or waived fees in certain cases based on eligibility criteria.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the government filing fee for Form I-130, I recommend visiting the USCIS website’s “Check Filing Fees” page and specifically looking for the fee associated with Form I-130. Always refer to the official USCIS fee schedule to ensure that you have the correct fee information before submitting your application.

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