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Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form. It is used by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to establish the existence of a qualifying relationship with certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the U.S.
In more detail:
- Filing the petition: The U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (also known as the “petitioner”) must file Form I-130 on behalf of the foreign national relative (the “beneficiary”). This form is typically accompanied by supporting documentation to prove the qualifying relationship, such as birth certificates or marriage certificates.
- Processing and approval: Once the form is submitted, USCIS reviews the application. If approved, the petition does not immediately result in a visa for the beneficiary. Instead, it simply recognizes the claimed familial relationship.
- Waiting for a visa number: After the approval, most beneficiaries must wait for a visa number to become available. The wait time depends on the relationship and the beneficiary’s country of origin. Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21) do not have to wait for a visa number, while other relatives do.
- Applying for an immigrant visa or adjusting status: Once a visa number is available (or immediately, for immediate relatives), the beneficiary can apply for an immigrant visa if they are outside the U.S. If they are in the U.S. lawfully, they may be able to apply for an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.
The entire process can be complex and lengthy, depending on the specific circumstances. It is often beneficial to seek the help of an immigration attorney or expert to navigate the process.