Petition for Alien Relative(s) or Family-based Applications

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How does it work?

In order to establish a qualifying family relationship for immigration purposes, an I-130 petition (i.e. Petition for alien relative) must be filed.

Who can file an application?

U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents can file a petition for the following relatives:

  • Husband or wife;
  • Children, married (only US citizens) or unmarried.

A U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years or older may also petition for the following relatives:

  •      Parents;
  •      Brothers or sisters.

When you submit your petition, you are required to provide evidence to prove your relationship to the person for whom you are filing.

The Application Process

If your relative is outside the United States, filing an I-130 does not allow your relative to live or work in the United States. An I-130 petition only establishes your relationship with your relative. Your relative should wait outside the United States to immigrate legally.

  1. If your husband or wife, unmarried child under 21 years, or parent is already in the United States after having entered legally and maintained legal status, they can apply to adjust their status to permanent resident at the same time you file their I-130 petition, by filing an I-485 application to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. They can also apply for an Employment Authorization, Form I-765.
  2. If your relatives live in another country, you will file an I-130 petition with USCIS. When the I-130 is approved by the USCIS, the National Visa Center will mail the “agent” or visa applicant instructions on the steps which must be taken to apply for the immigrant visa, including information on payment of the visa processing fee for each visa applicant. On payment of the fees, the NVC will mail the agent or visa applicant the Instruction Package for Immigrant Visa Applicants, which consists of the Forms DS-230 and Form I-864. On receipt of the forms DS-230 and all the required documents, the NVC will schedule a formal interview date at the Embassy in your relatives’ home country, send to your relatives the appointment letter and forward the file to the Immigrant Visa Unit at this Embassy. Before your relatives come for their visa interview, they should have the medical examination done by one of the Embassy panel physicians.

Sponsor’s Requirements

Under the law, each person who immigrates based on a relative’s petition must have a financial sponsor. If you choose to sponsor your relative’s immigration by filing a relative petition (I-130), when the time comes for your relative to immigrate, you must agree to be his or her financial sponsor by filing Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. A sponsor must be at least 18 years old and either an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident (LPR). The sponsor must also have a domicile (residence) in the United States. The sponsor must meet certain income requirements: must have an annual income of at least 125% of the Poverty Guidelines in effect on the filing date of an Affidavit of Support. The financial responsibility may be shared with a joint-sponsor.

Immediate Relatives

The law gives special consideration to immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes a U.S. citizen’s spouse, unmarried children under 21 years of age, and parents, there is no waiting list to obtain a Visa for immediate relatives. The U.S. Department of State will invite them to apply for an immigrant visa as soon as USCIS approves your I-130 petition.

Preference classes

For other relatives, the combination of high demand and the limits set by law on how many people can immigrate each year means your relatives may have to wait several years “in line” while petitions that were filed before theirs are processed. When your relative reaches the “front of the line”, the U.S. Department of State contacts your relative and invites him or her to apply for an immigrant visa.

Preference Classes are numbered categories which define types of immigrant visas. There are separate sets of preference classes for family-based immigration. The case must fit into one of the preference classes for an immigrant petition to be approvable, and the preference class into which it fits must be indicated on the form filed for that petition.

First Preference Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
Second Preference  Part “A”: Spouses and Children
(under 21 years of age) of U.S. Permanent ResidentsPart “B”: Unmarried Sons and
Daughters (over 21 years of age) of U.S. Permanent Residents
Third Preference Married Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens
Fourth Preference Brothers and Sisters of Adult U.S. Citizens

Contact us to discuss your case and we will assist you with your application.