Form I-130: A checklist for applying for parent Green Cards

What is Form I-130? What are the eligibility requirements? How do you complete and file this form? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

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United States citizens who are 21 years old or older may petition for their parents to become U.S. permanent residents or Green Card holders. The petition process starts by filing Form I-130.

What is Form I-130? What are the eligibility requirements? How do you complete and file this form? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

What is Form I-130?

Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form used to petition for family-based Green Cards.

A U.S. citizen or permanent resident (or the ‘petitioner’) files the form; once approved, the family member (or the ‘beneficiary’) may then proceed to apply for permanent residency. Form I-130 is necessary to establish the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary.

Generally, to apply for a Green Card, beneficiaries who are physically present in the U.S. may file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

On the other hand, beneficiaries who live abroad can apply for a visa with the U.S. Department of State via a U.S. consulate in their country.

Note, however, that certain beneficiaries may need to wait until a visa number becomes available before they can apply for a Green Card.

Form I-130 checklist for parents

Completing Form I-130 is the first step to petitioning your foreign national parents to immigrate to the U.S. However, that’s not all you need to submit. You’ll also need to present the following documents: 

1. Supporting documentation

The following documents serve as evidence of your status as a U.S. citizen, as well as your relationship with the individual(s) you are petitioning for:

  • Proof of your U.S. citizenship, such as a state-issued birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport or a valid naturalization certificate

  • Your parent’s birth certificate

  • Your parent’s valid foreign passport

  • If you are petitioning for both of your parents and they are still married, a copy of their marriage certificate

  • If your parents are divorced and the one you are petitioning for is remarried, a copy of the divorce decree

  • If one of your parents has passed away, a copy of the death certificate

  • If your parent has ever been a U.S. permanent resident in the past, Form I-407 (Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residency)

  • Translations of any documents that are not written in English. Translations must be made by a certified translator and the individual must attest that the information provide is true and accurate.

Only provide copies of the above-mentioned documents unless otherwise stated. If you submit copies of original documents and they were not requested, there is a chance that USCIS will destroy the documents; however, if USCIS requires original documents, they will be returned to the mailing address listed in the petition. 

Form I-130 submission fee

The processing fee is $535, which can be paid by check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The fee can also be paid in cash if the petition is submitted in person at a U.S. consulate.

How to complete the I-130 petition

USCIS provides this form for free. You can obtain a copy by visiting the Form I-130 page of the USCIS website.

Alternatively, if you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 and request to have a copy sent to you. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-767-1833.

General instructions for completing Form I-130

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when supplying information to Form I-130:

  • Type answers or print legibly in black ink.

  • Signatures must be handwritten in black ink; stamped or typed signatures will not be accepted.

  • All questions must be answered fully and accurately.

  • If additional space is required, you can use the additional space provided in Part 9 (Additional Information of the Form). Alternatively, you can write any additional information on separate sheets of paper and attach them to the form; make sure to write the page number, part number and item number of the answer at the top of the sheet of paper. Sign and date each page.

  • All questions must be answered fully and accurately; providing false information could result in USCIS terminating the petition and prevent your parent from acquiring a Green Card. For answers that do not apply, you can write “not applicable” or “n/a” in the space provided; for numerical responses, write “none” unless you are directed to do otherwise. 

  • All dates should be entered in the mm/dd/yyyy format. For example, if the date you are entering is July 23, 2000, you should write “07/01/2000.” If you do not know an exact date, provide an approximate date with an explanation in Part 9 of the form. 

Instructions for each part and section of the 1-130 petition

Completing Form I-130 is self-explanatory; however, to give you a general idea of what type of information you will need to provide, we offer a basic overview of below. 

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Part. 1. Relationship

  • Select “parent” as you are filing on behalf of your parent

  • Indicate how you are related to your parent. Generally, USCIS only permits U.S. citizens to petition on behalf of birth parents; however, if certain conditions are met, you may be able to petition on behalf of adoptive parents. 

Part 2. Information about you

You do not need to enter an Alien Registration Number (A-number) as you are a U.S. citizen. However, you should provide the following in this section:

  • A USCIS account number (if you have one)

  • Your Social Security Number (SSN, if you have one)

  • Your full name, including your last name, first name and middle name

  • Any other names you may have used

  • Information about your place of birth

  • Your mailing address

  • Your physical address (if different than your mailing address)

  • Your marital status

  • Information about your parents, including last name, first name, middle name, date of birth, gender, country of birth and address of residence

  • Select “U.S. Citizen” (remember, only citizens can petition for a Green Card for their parents)

  • Select how you acquired citizenship

  • Provide your certificate number if you obtained citizenship through naturalization

  • Employment history, including the name of your employer, address, occupation and dates you have been employed

Part 3. Biographic information

  • Your ethnicity

  • Your race

  • Your height

  • Your weight 

  • Your eye color

  • Your hair color

Part 4. Information about beneficiary

  • Your parent’s A-number, if applicable 

  • USCIS account number, if applicable 

  • U.S. Social Security Number, if any

  • Beneficiary’s full name

  • Other names the beneficiary may have used

  • The beneficiary’s location and date of birth

  • Gender

  • Indicate whether or not anyone has ever filed a petition on behalf of the beneficiary before, if known

  • Physical address

  • The address where the beneficiary intends to live in the United States

  • Contact information, including daytime phone number, mobile phone number, and email address (if any)

  • Marital information, including marital status, place of current marriage, names of spouses, dates marriages ended (if applicable), and place of birth

  • Entry information, including class of admission, Form I-94, arrival-departure record number, date of arrival, authorized stay expiration date, passport number, visa number, passport or travel document from country of issuance and expiration date

  • Employment information, including name of current employer, address, occupation and dates of employment

Parts 5 to 9

The remaining parts of Form I-130 are very self-explanatory. It should be pointed out, however, that in Part 6, the petitioner must sign and date the petition.

If you do not need to complete parts 7, 8 or 9, enter “n/a” or “zero” (whichever is appropriate) in the provided fields.

Where to file Form I-130

You can find out where to send the completed Form I-130 and the necessary supporting documents under the “where to file” section of the Form I-130 page of the USCIS website.

The takeaway

For more resources on how to navigate your new life in the U.S., visit Nova Credit’s resource library where you can learn about everything from renting an apartment to finding the best credit cards for noncitizens.

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