How To File An I-130 Petition For An Immigrant Visa

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Once a family member becomes an American citizen or lawful permanent resident alien, he or she can apply for the admission of relatives. The petitioner must fill out the immigration Form I-130. Here is how to file an I-130 petition for an immigrant visa.

"Petitioner and Beneficiary"

Under United States immigration law, an American citizen or lawful permanent resident alien has the right to apply for his spouse, child or parents to join him or her in the country. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-130 is the first step for a relative visa application. This is also called the Petition for Alien Relative. It is for an adjustment of the status of an alien to a more permanent United States citizenship level.

The American citizen filling out the form is referred to as the "Petitioner," while the relative is referred to as the "Beneficiary." The petitioner will fill in all of the information for his or her relative. If the beneficiary is "in the United States already," then the process is for "adjustment of status." If the beneficiary is "not in the United States," then the process is for the issuance of a visa.

The uppermost part of the form is to be filled in by the immigration officer. The petitioner should state if the application is for a spouse, parent, sibling or child. The form has a left-hand column for petitioner and right-hand column for beneficiary information: name, address, place of birth, date of birth, gender, marital status and American identification numbers (United Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number).

The petitioner must fill in the details of how he or she gained American residence. Next, questions regarding beneficiary employment are asked. There is an entire essay section for listing the relative's children and ages. Then the beneficiary's address information should be filled in.

"Notification of Reception of Application"

The United States government will want to know if the beneficiary has an arrival or departure record from the United States. At the bottom, the petitioner must print his or her name, sign, date the form and include the filing fee with the application. Once the application is sent to the USCIS, the American government authorities can contact the petitioner by text message or email if he or she would so desire.

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