Who is the I-130 Visa For?

The I-130 visa is for alien relatives of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents that can sponsor their alien relatives.

Who is Eligible for the I-130 Visa?

As the petitioner, you may be able to file for your:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried children who are under 21
  • Siblings
  • Married son or daughter
  • Unmarried son or daughter who is 21 years old or older
  • Parents

US immigration categorizes family sponsorship into two sections: immediate relatives and family preference.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you must be 21 years old or older to sponsor your parents or siblings. If you are a lawful permanent resident, you cannot sponsor your parents or siblings. Furthermore, to qualify for the I-130 visa, your alien relative must be able to prove their relation to you.

Requirements for the I-130 Visa

We recommend that you review these requirements before completing and submitting your form. If you have any issues obtaining any of these requirements we recommend consulting with an immigration lawyer to determine the best route for you. If you apply for the I-130 visa without this complete list you risk the chance at losing money and time.

Required Documents for the I-130 Visa for Family Sponsorship

The following list of required documents is from the USCIS website.

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship, lawful permanent residence, or U.S. national status:
    • A copy of your birth certificate, issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority showing you were born in the United States;
    • A copy of your naturalization or citizenship certificate issued by USCIS or the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS);
    • A copy of Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate;
    • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport;
    • An original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying you are a U.S. citizen with a valid passport; or
    • A copy of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card or a Form I-551).
  • Evidence of family relationship with one of the following (see form instructions for more detailed guidance):
    • Spouse: A copy of your marriage certificate
  • Evidence you or your spouse terminated any prior marriages (if applicable)
    • Child: A copy of your child's birth certificate(s).
    • Parent: A copy of your birth certificate.
    • Brother/Sister: A copy of the birth certificate for you and your sibling.
  • Evidence of the bona fides of the marriage, if petitioning for a spouse:
    • Documentation showing joint ownership of property;
    • A lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence, meaning you both live at the same address together;
    • Documentation showing that you and your spouse have combined your financial resources;
    • Birth certificates of children born to you and your spouse together;
    • Affidavits sworn to or affirmed by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of the marital relationship. Each affidavit must contain the full name and address of the person making the affidavit; date and place of birth of the person making the affidavit; and complete information and details explaining how the person acquired their knowledge of your marriage; and
    • Any other relevant documentation to establish that there is an ongoing marital union.
  • Proof of legal name change (if applicable); and
  • Two passport-style photographs (if applicable).

If you are filing Form I-130 for your adopted child

  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship:
    • A copy of your birth certificate, issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority showing you were born in the United States;
    • A copy of your naturalization citizenship certificate issued by USCIS or the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS);
    • A copy of Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate;
    • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport; or
    • An original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying that you are a U.S. citizen with a valid passport.
  • Evidence of family relationship, such as a final adoption decree;
  • Evidence you have had legal custody of the adopted child for two years; and
  • Evidence you have had joint residence with the adopted child for two years.

How to File the I-130 Visa Application

The USCIS has the I-130 Visa application available online in a PDF form. You can print our this sheet and fill it in according to the person or persons who you are sponsoring. The process can be quite difficult to navigate so the USCIS has instructions for filing the I-130 form or you can hire an immigration lawyer.

Tips for the I-130 Form Application

Complete all sections of the form. The USCIS will reject the form if these fields are missing:

  • Part 1 – Relationship
  • Part 2 – Information About You
    • Your Full Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Mailing Address
    • Your Marital Information
  • Part 4 – Information About Beneficiary
    • Beneficiary Full Name
    • Date of Birth
    • Beneficiary's Physical Address
    • Beneficiary's Marital Information

Don't forget to sign your form!

The I-130 Visa Application Process

U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents must file the I-130 form for their alien relative(s). The completed form, accompanied by the required supplementary documents and fee, must then be mailed to a Lockbox facility, where forms are evaluated. Qualifying applications will be sent on to be adjudicated at a field office or service center, where a decision will be reached about whether to issue a visa.

Knowing which form to fill out may be simple enough, but answering the questions and providing the necessary evidence of your relationship can be difficult and confusing. We can help smooth the process and improve your chances of success.


We are I-130 Visa Experts

As experienced immigration professionals, we know how to assist U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents in bringing their families to the U.S. through the I-130 visa process. You don't have to do it alone, we can help.

We Understand the I-130 Visa Application Process

We have helped thousands of family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents successfully enter the U.S. with I-130 visas and we can help you too. Our firm boasts 15 years of experience in working with families. We know what the U.S. immigration department requires, and how to meet all deadlines and expectations.

Start today by getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your case.

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