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USCIS Form I-130 - Petition for Alien Relative

If you wish to bring a family member to the USA, you must file USCIS Form I-130. We give you an overview of the form, the eligibility criteria, the fees, the required documents, and the processing times.

What is Form I-130?

Form I-130, also known as Petition for Alien Relative, is intended to prove a valid family relationship between US citizens or Green Card holders and a relative seeking to immigrate to the United States.

The form usually marks the first step in the family-based Green Card process and is to be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Who needs to file Form I-130?

In general, the I-130 Form can be filed by an adult US citizen or Green Card holder FOR another person seeking a Green Card.

US citizens are able to file the petition for their:

  • spouses
  • children
  • parents
  • siblings

Green Card holders can submit a request for their:

  • spouses
  • unmarried children


In this context, the US citizen or Green Card holder filing the petition is generally referred to as the sponsor or petitioner. The person, on whose behalf the I-130 petition is filed, is called the beneficiary.

Which supporting documents are required for Form I-130?

Along with Form I-130, the petitioner and beneficiary must submit documents that prove the petitioner is a US citizen or Green Card holder and that a valid family relationship exists between the two. These documents usually include a copy of:

  • the US passport of the sponsor
  • the US birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or Green Card of the sponsor
  • the foreign passport of the beneficiary

Depending on your case, you may also require to submit copies of:

  • the marriage certificate
  • joint bank account statements
  • couple photos
  • divorce papers of a former marriage
  • certificate of annulment of a former marriage
  • death certificate of a former spouse
  • certificate proofing an official name change
  • adoption papers


If any of these documents are in a language other than English, you also require English translations made by a certified translator.

How to file Form I-130?

The USCIS website provides a free download of Form I-130. After downloading, you can either fill it in on your computer or by hand.

Form I-130 basically collects information about the sponsor and the beneficiary and serves to prove their claim to file a Green Card application. The 12-page long I-130 Form consists of 9 parts, which include:

  • Part 1: Relationship of petitioner and beneficiary
  • Part 2: Information about the petitioner
  • Part 3: Biographic information about the petitioner
  • Part 4: Information about the beneficiary
  • Part 5: Other information
  • Part 6: Petitioner’s statement, contact information, declaration, and signature
  • Part 7: Interpreter’s contact information, certification, and signature
  • Part 8: Contact information, declaration, and signature of the person preparing the petition, if other than the petitioner
  • Part 9: Additional information (You can use Part 9 at the end of the form, if you need additional space to answer a question.)


The petitioner’s signature needs to be handwritten and in ink.

How much does Form I-130 cost?

The fee for filing Form I-130 is currently $ 675 for paper filing and $ 625 for online filing (as of April 2024).

As the Green Card process advances, more costs will occur. For example, Green Card applicants will also have to expect fees for submitting Form I-485 and taking part in a biometrics appointment.

How long is the processing time for Form I-130?

The processing time for Form I-130 varies between 5 and 12 months for immediate relatives such as spouses or children under the age of 21 years. However, Green Card seekers of other family preference categories usually have to face longer waiting times that may take several years.

Typically, you can expect the following processing times after filing Form I-130:

  • 2 - 3 weeks after filing Form I-130: The USCIS will mail you a notice confirming receipt of your petition (Form I-797C, Notice of Action). However, if you did not correctly file Form I-130, you will be sent a Notice of Action rejecting the petition or a Request for Evidence requesting additional documents. So, to avoid significant delays in your petition, make sure to fill in the form correctly and submit all required documents.
  • 2 - 4 weeks after filing Form I-130: The USCIS will begin to process your request. Yet there is a difference between immediate relatives (spouses, unmarried children under 21 years, parents of US citizens) and other family preference categories. Immediate relatives will be given priority and have their form reviewed as soon as possible.
  • Immediate relatives, 5 - 12 months after filing Form I-130: Most applications for immediate relatives are approved within 5 to 9 months. In some cases, longer waiting times may occur.
  • Other preference categories, 6 months - 20+ years after filing Form I-130: Applicants in the family preference category may face long waiting times, as the amount of visas issued to them is limited each year. Your place in line is determined by your priority date, i.e., the date your request was filed. More detailed information about the current priority dates and waiting times can be found in the USCIS’ monthly Visa Bulletin.

The next step of your Green Card application

Once a valid family relationship has been established through Form I-130, filing Form I-485 will enable the beneficiary to receive the status of lawful permanent US resident. Welcome to the USA!

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