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Understanding the I-130 Petition: A Comprehensive Guide

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Published on: August 5, 2019, Last updated on: June 30, 2024.

Form I-130 is a United States immigration form known as the “Petition for Alien Relative.” This form is used to officially establish a familial relationship between someone who holds a green card or is a U.S. citizen and someone who wishes to obtain a green card. On this page, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the form I-130 Petition from the trusted immigration attorneys at Tadeo & Silva.

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What Does I-130 Approval Mean?

Form I-130 is a United States immigration form known as the “Petition for Alien Relative.” This form officially establishes a familial relationship between someone who holds a green card or is a U.S. citizen and someone who wishes to obtain a green card (lawful permanent residence).

On this page, you’ll learn everything you need about the form I-130 Petition from the trusted immigration attorneys at Tadeo & Silva.

Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

Formally called the “Petition for Alien Relative,” the I-130 is a form sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services by a U.S. citizen or lawful Permanent Resident who is petitioning for an immediate relative wanting to immigrate to the United States.

Form I-130 is the documentation that establishes a legitimate family relationship between a U.S. person or Green Card holder and an individual looking for a permit. Many aspects are quite complex and better explained by a qualified Georgia immigration attorney, such as those from Tadeo Silva Law.

Marital Relationship I-130 Form

In the context of a marital relationship visa, the I-130 form is submitted to show that your marital relationship is lawfully legitimate and isn’t based on marriage fraud. 

Submitting Form I-130

Submitting the form I-130 petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents is the first step in the family-based immigration process. Qualified relatives need to wait until there is an available visa number before they can become permanent residents. 

Form I-130 can be found here. Additional forms include those for Spouse Beneficiary and E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance.

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Questions about Form I-130?

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I130 Processing

Unless you fall among the few categories of individuals who can skip the line, your processing is determined by the date that USCIS received your I-130 petition. Consulting a lawyer with experience in family-based immigration is generally your best option for understanding these complicated forms. 

When Will Your Form I 130 Be Processed?

Usually, petitions are processed in the order they are submitted. As with any official application process, it can take a while to process an I-130 form. This is partly due to the large volume of requests the government receives. 

Legitimate Form I-130

U.S. residents can submit form I-130 petition for their partners, kids, parents, and siblings. The U.S. resident or permit holder who submits the petition is the “petitioner” or “sponsor,” and the individual looking for a permit is the “recipient.”

Form I 130 Exemptions

There are several eligibility exemptions for the Form I 130 petition. These include the following loved ones:

  • Adoptive parents or children adopted after the age of 16
  • A biological parent who became a green card holder through adoption
  • Grandparent, grandchild, aunt, cousin, nephew, niece, uncle, or parent-in-law
  • Spouse, if one of the parties wasn’t present at the marriage ceremony or the marriage occurred during immigration proceedings
  • Anyone USCIS determines was married purely for immigration purposes

Some of these exemptions have exemptions of their own. To properly apply for citizenship, submit an I-130 petition with extra supporting documents in these circumstances.

Form I130: First Step to Getting a Green Card

Submitting a form I130 is just the initial step in assisting a relative in immigrating to the U.S. An I-130 petition for a family-based immigrant visa starts the process of getting a green card.

However, if your I-130 petition is approved, that doesn’t grant you lawful permanent resident status. You will become eligible for a green card classification as a permanent resident. Still, you need to go through a consular procedure in your home country or get an adjustment of status.

The USCIS will send the approval notice, and the next steps depend on whether the immigrant is an Immediate Relative or belong in the Family Preference Category, as well as if the immigrant is in or outside the United States. The day that USCIS accepts the I-130 petition sets a priority date, which is important when a limited number of immigrant visas are available.

Also, the approved petition used to obtain a permanent residence once can’t be used again. It has to be filed again.

Tadeo & Silva, immigration attorneys in Atlanta, are an experienced team ready to fight for you and your family.

Legitimate Form I 130

Aggressive Help with I-130 Form.

Tadeo & Silva, immigration attorneys in Atlanta are an experienced team ready to fight for you and your family.

Expedited Processing for Form I-130

Circumstances for Expedited Processing
USCIS may expedite an I-130 petition under specific circumstances. Situations that could warrant expedited processing include severe financial loss to a company or person, urgent humanitarian reasons, or compelling U.S. government interests. For instance, if a petitioner is a member of the U.S. military facing deployment, their case might be expedited.

How to Request Expedited Processing
To request expedited processing, you must contact USCIS with a detailed explanation and evidence supporting your claim. This could involve providing medical records for urgent health-related cases or deployment orders for military personnel. Be prepared to demonstrate that standard processing would result in significant hardship.

USCIS Decision
USCIS reviews expedite requests on a case-by-case basis, and approval is not guaranteed. If your request is denied, your petition will continue through regular processing channels. Therefore, ensure your request is compelling and well-documented to increase the likelihood of approval.

Closely Follow the I-130 Instructions

The I-130 petition instructions direct you to where you should submit the form. This depends partly upon where you live and whether you’re submitting only the I-130 or filing it with an I-485, also called the Application to Register Permanent House or Change Status.

If you are a U.S. citizen residing outside the U.S., where the USCIS has an international office, submit your documentation to the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility. Otherwise, file at the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Form I-130 Instructions

Closely follow the I-130 instructions. Improperly completed immigration forms are generally delayed or declined, which can be devastating.

Our dedicated, experienced, and here to help you achieve your immigration goals. Contact our team of trusted immigration attorneys in Atlanta for a final document review before submitting your Form I-130.

Access the Form I-130 Checklist

Consult the I-130 checklist to ensure you submit your petition with the correct supporting documents to prove that a valid family relationship exists with the individual seeking a permit. The I-130 petition supporting files usually consist of the following:

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or green card holder

  • Proof of relationship

  • Proof of any name changes for pertinent individuals

  • Proof of nationality

Simply said, permanent residents and U.S. citizens must prove they have permanent residence in the United States or are U.S. citizens. Although this sounds easy, it can be complicated. For example, suppose you are a permanent resident submitting a petition for a relative. In that case, you can submit a photocopy of your Permanent Resident Card, as well as a photocopy of your passport and the Form I-797 approval notice of your permanent residence.

A photocopy of your U.S. passport and naturalization certificate may be enough if you are a U.S. citizen. Other supporting documents may include a copy of the sponsor’s U.S. birth certificate and joint checking account statements.

I-130 Filing Fee

At the moment, the I-130 filing fee is $535. To ensure you correctly submit all filing fees and documents, consult a Georgia immigration attorney.

I-130 Form Checklist Expertise

Experienced in helping detainees get back to their families. Contact our team of trusted immigration attorneys in Atlanta.

Closely Follow the I 130 Instructions

I-130 Instructions Help Now


USCIS I-130 petition forms submitted by United States residents can be on behalf of just one recipient. Those petitioning for several loved ones, like partners and kids, require separate forms.

When dealing with the USCIS Atlanta regarding Form I-130 or any other matters, seeking the counsel of a local law firm yields the

best results. You can also get the help of a translator for most USCIS matters if you need help with the language. 

What Is the I-130 Processing Time

The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative processing time depends on the USCIS field office and family relationship. But, if you are wondering how long it takes for the I-130 to be approved, it can take five months to a year for immediate relatives.

For marriage-based permits, the processing times differ between 7 and 15 months. This depends on whether the sponsoring partner is a U.S. resident or permit holder and whether the partner looking for a permit resides in the United States or abroad. For family preference categories, the approval after you file form I-130 could take a few years.

Access the Form I 130 Checklist

I-130 Form Checklist Expertise

Experienced in helping detainees get back to their families. Contact our team of trusted immigration attorneys in Atlanta.

What Is Next After I-130 Is Approved?

After your I-130 petition is approved, the next steps in the immigration process depend on the specific circumstances and the beneficiary’s location. Here are some possible scenarios and the corresponding actions:

  1. Adjustment of Status (for beneficiaries already in the United States): If the beneficiary is currently in the United States and eligible to adjust status, the next step is to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This form is used to apply for a green card (permanent residence) while remaining in the United States.
  2. Consular Processing (for beneficiaries outside the United States): If the beneficiary is outside the United States or ineligible for adjustment of status, the approved I-130 petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will coordinate with the beneficiary and provide instructions on completing the necessary forms, gathering required documents, and scheduling an immigrant visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
  3. Waiting for Priority Date: Sometimes, the I-130 petition may be approved, but a visa is not immediately available due to visa number limitations. If the beneficiary’s priority date is not current, they must wait until it becomes current, according to the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State. Once the priority date is current, they can proceed with either adjustment of status or consular processing.
  4. Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID): In certain situations, USCIS may issue an RFE or NOID even after the I-130 is approved. If you receive such a notice, you must respond promptly and provide the requested evidence or address the concerns raised by USCIS. Failure to respond adequately may result in the denial of your application.

Navigating the visa application process on your own can be difficult. To ensure the best chance of success and avoid delays or denials, you should consult with an experienced Atlanta immigration attorney.

An experienced immigration lawyer can help you understand complex rules and regulations, prepare the necessary documentation, and represent you throughout the process, including during any immigration court proceedings.

Role of NVC After I-130 Petition is Approved

Once the I-130 petition is approved by USCIS, it moves to the next stage handled by the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC is responsible for collecting visa application forms and supporting documents and initiating the visa pre-processing steps. Initially, the NVC will send you a welcome letter containing your case number and an invoice ID number. These are crucial for tracking and managing your case online.

The next steps involve paying the necessary fees, submitting the visa application (Form DS-260), and providing the required civil and financial documents. The NVC plays a critical role in ensuring that all paperwork is correctly completed and that the petitioner meets the financial requirements to support the immigrant. According to recent statistics, this phase typically takes about three to five months, though it can vary based on case specifics.

Once all documents are submitted and verified, the NVC schedules the immigrant visa interview at the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. It’s important to prepare thoroughly for this interview, as it is a pivotal step in the immigration process. For more detailed information, you can visit the official NVC website.

Consult an Experienced Immigration Attorney

The I-130 petition is a complex application, and the USCIS website does not provide all the necessary information to ensure successful filing. Suppose you want to sponsor a family member for an immigrant visa. In that case, it’s best to consult with a knowledgeable immigration attorney who can assist in the process and help you understand all the requirements.

At Tadeo & Silva Law, our experienced immigration attorneys have extensive knowledge of I-130 and other immigrant visa petitions. We can help you understand the applicable laws, ensure all necessary forms and documentation are filed correctly, and represent you throughout the process. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your immigration needs.


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