Tips For Completing Form I-130 For US Family-Based Immigration

Tips for filling out Form I-130

Filling out Form I-130 accurately and completely is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful family-based immigration process. Here are some tips to help you navigate the form effectively:

  • Read the Instructions: Carefully read the instructions provided with the form. The instructions will guide you through each section and provide important information about eligibility, required documents, and the filing process.
  • Double-Check Eligibility: Make sure you are eligible to file Form I-130 based on your relationship with the foreign national relative. Only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can file this form.
  • Use the Latest Form: Always use the most recent version of Form I-130 available on the USCIS website. Using outdated forms can lead to delays or rejections.
  • Provide Accurate Information: Ensure that all information provided on the form is accurate and matches the supporting documents. Any inconsistencies may raise concerns and lead to delays or denials.
  • Complete All Sections: Fill out all sections of the form, even if they may not seem relevant at first. If a section is not applicable, mark it as “N/A” (not applicable).
  • Use Legible Handwriting: Write legibly and use black ink to avoid any issues with readability. Illegible handwriting can lead to confusion and processing delays.
  • Include Supporting Documents: Gather and include all necessary supporting documents that demonstrate the qualifying relationship, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or adoption papers. Ensure that any documents not in English are accompanied by certified translations.
  • Pay the Correct Fee: Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee and ensure that you include the correct payment with your application.
  • Sign and Date the Form: The petitioner must sign and date the form. Make sure you sign in the appropriate spaces.
  • Organize the Application Package: Assemble the application package neatly and in order. Include a cover letter that lists the contents of the package to make it easier for USCIS to review.
  • Keep Copies: Make copies of the completed form and all supporting documents for your records before sending them to USCIS.
  • Follow USCIS Instructions: Submit the form and supporting documents to the address specified in the instructions. Follow any specific mailing or delivery instructions provided by USCIS.

If you are unsure about any aspect of the form or the immigration process, consider seeking assistance from an immigration attorney or an accredited representative to ensure that your application is prepared accurately and meets all requirements.

Form I-130 instructions

To find the most up-to-date instructions for Form I-130, you should visit the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here’s how you can locate the instructions:

  • Go to the USCIS website.
  • On the homepage, locate the “FORMS” tab on the top navigation menu and hover over it.
  • Click on “Find a Form” from the dropdown menu.
  • On the “Find a Form” page, you can either enter “I-130” in the search bar or look for the form in the list of forms.
  • Once you find “Form I-130” in the list, click on it to access the form details.
  • On the Form I-130 page, you should find links to download the form and its instructions in PDF format.
  • Click on the link for the instructions to download or view them.

The instructions will provide you with guidance on how to fill out the form, eligibility requirements, supporting documents needed, mailing addresses, and other important information.

Remember that USCIS updates its forms and instructions from time to time, so it’s essential to download the latest version before filling out the form. Always ensure you are using the most recent instructions to avoid any potential issues with your application.

Checklist of required documents for Form I-130

The checklist of required documents for Form I-130 may vary depending on the specific family relationship being claimed and the circumstances of the petitioner and beneficiary. However, here is a general checklist of common documents that may be required for Form I-130:

  • Form I-130: Complete and signed by the petitioner (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident).
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident Status:
    • S. Passport (for U.S. citizens)
    • S. Birth Certificate (for U.S. citizens)
    • Certificate of Naturalization (for naturalized U.S. citizens)
    • Permanent Resident Card (green card) (for lawful permanent residents)
  • Proof of Family Relationship:
    • Marriage Certificate (for spouse petitions)
    • Birth Certificate (for child petitions)
    • Adoption Decree (for adopted child petitions)
    • Marriage Termination Documents (if applicable)
  • Passport Photos:
    • Passport-sized photos of the petitioner and the beneficiary. Follow the USCIS guidelines for the photos.
  • Supporting Documents:
    • Additional documents that provide evidence of the bona fide nature of the relationship (for example, joint bank account statements, joint lease/mortgage, joint bills, photos together, etc.).
  • English Translations:
    • If any of the supporting documents are not in English, include certified translations.
  • Filing Fee:
    • Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee and include the correct payment method (e.g., check, money order, or credit card).
  • G-1145 (Optional):
    • This form is an optional notification request, which allows you to receive electronic notifications about your case.
  • Form G-325A (if applicable):
    • Biographical information form for the petitioner (no longer required as of my last update in September 2021, but check USCIS for the most current information).

It’s important to remember that specific circumstances may require additional documentation or evidence to support your case. Always review the USCIS website and the specific instructions for Form I-130 to ensure you have all the necessary documents and meet the requirements for your particular situation.

If you are unsure about the required documents or have complex circumstances, it’s advisable to consult an immigration attorney or an accredited representative for guidance and assistance in preparing your Form I-130 application.

How much does it cost to file Form I-130?

The filing fee for Form I-130, the “Petition for Alien Relative,” was $535. However, please note that USCIS fees can change over time, so it’s essential to check the USCIS website or the latest fee schedule for the most up-to-date information.

To find the current filing fee for Form I-130, you can visit the USCIS website and look for the “FORMS” tab on the top navigation menu. Under “FORMS,” click on “Filing Fees” to access the current fee schedule for all USCIS forms, including Form I-130.

If you are filing Form I-130 for a spouse, minor child, or unmarried son or daughter under 21 years of age, you may be eligible for a reduced fee or a fee waiver under certain circumstances. Eligibility for fee exemptions or waivers is determined based on the petitioner’s income and financial situation.

Keep in mind that USCIS only accepts specific payment methods, such as checks, money orders, or credit card payments. It’s crucial to follow the payment instructions provided on the USCIS website when submitting your application to avoid any delays or issues.

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