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The complete process for filing a petition for an Alien Relative

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To file a petition for an alien relative, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) must file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here are the steps to follow:

1. Select the appropriate form: Choose the correct version of Form I-130 based on your relationship with the beneficiary.

2. Complete the form: Fill out the form accurately, providing all required information about yourself and your relative.

3. Submit the form: You can submit Form I-130 online or by mail to the appropriate USCIS lockbox facility.

4. Wait for approval: Once the petition is approved, your relative may apply to become a lawful permanent resident (get a Green Card).

If your relative is already in the United States and a visa is available, they may be eligible to get their Green Card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. If they are an immediate relative, such as a parent, spouse, or unmarried child under the age of 21, they may be able to apply straight away.

It’s important to note that the approval rate for Form I-130 has been high in recent years, above 99%, due to most I-130 applications being filed by U.S. citizens or green card holders who are sponsoring their immediate relatives, who are not subject to numerical limits.

The documents required to file a petition for an alien relative

When filing a petition for an alien relative, the following documents are typically required:

1. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative: This form is the primary document that must be completed and submitted to USCIS.

2. Filing Fee: The required fee must be paid with a personal check, bank draft, or money order made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

3. Cover Letter: A cover letter should accompany the petition and documents, providing a description of the petition/application and a complete list of all items included in the submission.

4. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residence: Documents proving the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status must be included. This can include a birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, or green card.

5. Proof of Relationship: Depending on the relationship with the beneficiary, documents such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, adoption decrees, or other relevant proof of relationship must be provided.

6. Additional Documents for Foreign National Spouse: If filing for a foreign national spouse, additional documents may be required, such as proof of termination of prior marriages, Form G-325A forms with photos attached, and evidence of a bona fide marriage.

7. Evidence of Marital History: A complete accounting of the petitioner’s marital history is required if the beneficiary is a spouse or child related to the spouse.

8. Employment History: Information about the petitioner’s employers for the past five years should be provided.

9. Translation of Foreign Language Documents: Any foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English-certified translation.

It’s important to ensure that all documents are accurately completed and submitted along with Form I-130 to initiate the process of sponsoring an alien relative for a green card in the United States.

Filing fee for Form i-130

The filing fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is $535. This fee is required when submitting the petition to sponsor a qualifying relative for permanent residence in the United States. It’s important to note that this filing fee cannot be waived, and it is non-refundable regardless of any action taken by USCIS on the petition. The fee must be paid in the exact amount and can be submitted via a personal check, bank draft, or money order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

How long does it take to process a petition for an alien relative?

The processing time for a petition for an alien relative, specifically Form I-130, can vary based on different factors. Here is an overview of the processing times:

1. Initial Receipt of Petition: After filing Form I-130, the initial receipt notice typically arrives 2 to 4 weeks after filing.

petition for an Alien Relative

2. Review of Petition: USCIS may begin reviewing the petition approximately 4 to 12 weeks after filing. Immediate relatives are given priority, while family preference categories generally have longer wait times.

3. Approval for Immediate Relatives: For immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents), most Form I-130 petitions are approved within 10 to 14 months, but it can take longer in some cases.

4. Approval for Family Preference: Approval for family preference categories can take approximately 12 months to several years, depending on the specific category and priority date.

5. Current Processing Times: The processing time for all I-130 applicants varies by application type. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens are generally processed faster, while other application types may face delays due to annual quotas.

6. Case Backlog: The backlog of I-130 cases received by USCIS in the last two years helps understand the processing order and status of cases, with newer cases typically having the “Case Received” status.

Overall, the processing time for a petition for an alien relative like Form I-130 can range from several weeks for initial receipt to potentially several years depending on the relationship category and USCIS workload.

Continue reading: Marriage Green Card vs K-1 Visa (Fiancé Visa)

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