How To Fill Out Form I-130 Petition For Alien Relative Part 1

Not surprisingly, filling out immigration forms is not on the top of the list of favorite things we like doing. But, in all honesty, it’s an absolute requirement to bring your spouse to the United States. Without completing this step correctly, you may be denied the opportunity to spend the rest of your lives together. It’s really that simple. So, in this post I’ll show you how to fill out form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

Don’t worry too much about the term “alien” above. This was used in the past to describe anyone who is not a U.S. citizen. The more politically friendly term we use more often is foreign spouse or noncitizen spouse.

Form I-130 is not the actual visa application but is used to ask permission from USCIS to allow your foreign spouse to apply for the visa at the U.S. consulate. Think of it as the first hurdle you’ll need to pass before you can move on to the next step. The I-130 petition is often approved even if someone is not admissible to enter the United States. This can be very confusing because you would think that an approved petition means you qualify in every way.

Unfortunately, an approved I-130 petition just means that USCIS believes you meet the minimum requirement to apply for the CR1 visa for your foreign spouse. It’s up to you to prove that your spouse is eligible for the visa and has no grounds of inadmissibility in their background checks.

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How To Fill Out Form I-130 Petition For Alien Relative

Before we begin filling out the form, we need to determine whether you should be using this form at all. There are a million-and-one forms that USCIS has on their website and submitting the wrong one can waste time and money. Let’s do this right the first time.

You should use Form I-130 if:

  • Petitioner is a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)
  • You are legally married to your foreign spouse
  • You want to bring your foreign spouse to live in the U.S.

Notice how there is no mention of the income requirement? This is because at this point in your application, it doesn’t matter just yet. Once the I-130 petition is approved and sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), that’s when the U.S. citizen or LPR needs to prove they can financially support their spouse.

Note: In this post, I’ll be focusing on applying for a spouse but form I-130 can be used for any foreign relative such as a parent or child. If they are not an immediate relative, they must wait for their priority date before issuance of a visa.

Part 1: Relationship (You are the Petitioner. Your relative is the Beneficiary)

1: Select the person you are filing for. In this case, it is a foreign spouse. You can also file for a parent, child or sibling.

2: If you are filing for a child or parent, select the circumstances that describe your relationship.

3: If your filing for a sibling, select whether you are related through adoption.

4: If you naturalized or currently have a green card through adoption by an American family check Yes, otherwise check No.

Part 2: Information About You (Petitioner)

1-3: If you are a green card holder or naturalized, enter your A number and SSN. If you’ve registered for USCIS online account to make payments, include  your account number.

4a-4c: Enter your full legal name.


Part 2: Information About You (Petitioner)

5a-5c: If you’ve used other names, enter it here. This should not be a nickname but a legal name that you had before but recently changed.

6-9: Enter where you were born and your date of birth. Make sure this information is accurate as it will need to match your background check.

10a-11: Enter your current address. If you’re mailing address is the same as your physical address answer “Yes” to question 11.

12a-13b: If your physical address is different than your mailing address you entered previous, enter the physical address here.

14a-15b: Enter your previous addresses that you have lived at for the last 5 years from today’s date.

16: Enter the number of times you’ve EVER been married (including your current marriage).

17: Select your current marital status (if you’re petitioning your spouse, select “Married”).

i-130Part 2: Information About You (continued)

18: Enter the date you got legally married.

9a-19d: Enter the location where you got married. If your spouse is living abroad and you married in their country, put the city/province/state where the wedding took place. In some cases, if your foreign spouse is in the U.S. and you are adjusting status, enter the city/state in the United States where you got married.

20a-21: Enter the name of your current spouse (this should be the same person that you are petitioning for). Do not enter a date for question 21 since you are still married to your current spouse.

22a-23: If you (the American petitioner) were married before, enter the name of your ex-spouse.

24a-35: Enter the names, date of birth and country of birth of both of your parents (petitioner).

36: If you are a U.S. citizen, select “Yes”. No matter whether you were born in the U.S. or naturalized.

37: Select how you became a U.S. citizen.

38-39c: If you naturalized to become a U.S. citizen and have received a naturalization certificate, enter it here.

I-130Part 2: Information About You (Petitioner)

40a-41: If you are a green card holder, enter how you were initially admitted into the U.S. (for example: F1 student, H1b work). Enter the date of the last entry into the U.S. and what city/state your entered. If you then became a green card holder through marriage to a previous spouse, select “Yes” otherwise, select “No”.

42-49b: Enter the name of your current and previous employers for the last 5 years. If you were a student or unemployed, enter this as the name of the employer. You can use the schools address in the address field and leave it blank if you were unemployed.

Part 3: Employment History

1: If your heritage is Hispanic or Latino, select “Yes”, otherwise select “No”.

2: Select your racial background. If you are mixed race, select the option you identify as.

3-5: Select your height, weight and eye color. Be honest as this information will be used in the biographical database.


Part 4: Information About Beneficiary

6: Enter your current hair color not your natural hair color.

1-3: If your spouse has ever entered the U.S. before, enter the A-number (if any) and SSN (if any). If your spouse has a USCIS account number that is used to login to the USCIS website to make payments for visas enter the number here.

4a-5c: Enter the name of your current spouse (the beneficiary that you are petitioning for). If your spouse has changed their name before, enter previous legal names used.

6-7: Enter the city and country where your foreign spouse was born.

8-9: Enter your foreign spouses date of birth and sex.

10: If anyone else has EVER petitioned for your foreign spouse (even if it was canceled or denied) select “Yes”, otherwise select “No”.

11a-11h: Enter your foreign spouse’s current physical address.

12a-13f: If your foreign spouse will not be living with you at your current address, enter a new address here.

14: Enter your foreign spouse’s phone number.


Okay, we are half way through filling out Form I-130, take a quick break and move on to part two where we finish pages 6-12. As you can see these questions are straightforward but there are a few things that could complicate your case.

If your foreign spouse has ever been petitioned for by someone else. USCIS may look at your case more closely for marriage or immigration fraud. If you (the U.S. petitioner) has been married to multiple previous foreigners, this will also cause them to scrutinize your case further. Their number one job is to root out immigration fraud while still allowing U.S. citizens and LPR to bring relatives to the U.S.

Continue Filling Out Form I-130 Pages 6 – 12 Here



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  1. Oleg

    Are you sure about:
    “12a-13f: If your foreign spouse will not be living with you at your current address, enter a new address here.”?

  2. Hi Oleg,

    Yes, if you intend to have your wife live at a new address with you or if you will be moving in with family then you must enter the actual address where the beneficiary will live even if it’s not the address you currently live at. Hope that clears things up.

  3. gotfan

    Part 4, 13a asks for beneficiary’s address outside the US. Here’s a scenario. Beneficiary is in USA (for last 2 years) on a valid work visa and will be in USA while i130 and i485 (concurrent) is being processed. Entered current USA address in 11a, and SAME in 12a. What needs to be entered in 13a-13f? The USA address or the address on his passport.

  4. Hi Gotfan,

    Beneficiary should use the foreign address that was used on the visa application if that is still current. If there is no active foreign address, you can type “NA” and then explain this at the end of the I-130 form where it allows you to elaborate on an answer. Good luck!

  5. ben

    i am us citizen and i got through naturalization,my question is on form I-130 theres a question saying if i am us citizen which is clear, but the question after i think is 40 and 41 asking did you become lawful resident through marriage which i came to usa through marriage and asking about registration number .so do i need to answer that question even i am us citizen now.thank you

  6. Hi Ben,

    Yes, you must answer the question on how you became a permanent resident. This just let’s USCIS know that you did naturalize and came to the US legally. They will do a quick review of your previous case using your alien registration number to make sure everything checks out. Good luck!

  7. Rose C

    Hi i am now planning to petition my parents and brothers. I am now a US Citizen. Previously a green card holder. Question is regarding A-Number(if any) asked on i-130 form. Do i have to give my previous A-number in this form or it is not valid anymore because I am now US Citizen? some says just fill it up and some says i don’t have to. just to make sure i will do the right thing because i don’t wanna received an RFE just because i do or i don’t put it. thank you

  8. Hi Rose,

    You must include your previous A-number. It is never invalid because it contains all the details of your immigration history. USCIS will use this to review how you entered the country and if there were any past issues with your cases. Good luck!

  9. Lee

    I’m not sure how to ask this, but I’ll try. My beneficiary is from one country, but is currently working in another, how do I fill out the I-130 form with his addresses? Do I put both countries addresses?

  10. Hi Lee,

    Yes, you should include both address unless the beneficiary has lived in the current country of residence for more than the last 5 years. If they are a legal resident in the country they live in now, that is where they will have the interview scheduled. Great question!

  11. Hi
    Appreciate your work, I am a beneficiary origin of India,working in Saudi since last 3 years.can I choose u.s embassy/consulate in India for submission and interview of cr1
    You are such a great work

  12. Hi Faheem,

    You interview will be scheduled for the country that you currently reside. Sometimes you can change it to another location/embassy but you would need to contact NVC or the embassy that originally scheduled your interview date to get them to transfer your file. Good luck! Glad you enjoyed my work.

  13. JuamPa

    Thank you, Ayan. This is a fantastic blog!!

    I have a question regarding the Mailing Address (10.a -> 11) section and the Physical Address 1 (12.a -> 13.b). In my case, both are the same; thus, I am not filling out any of the fields for Physical Address 1, and I am using Physical Address 2 (14.a -> 15.b) to register my previous address.

    Is this correct?

  14. mr.hamilton

    I’m a US citizen working in Japan my wife is Philippines I want to do the I -130 is it ok to use my address here in Japan to do the I-130

  15. Hi Mr. Hamilton. Yes that is fine to use your address in Japan. You would actually be submitting the I-130 directly to the consulate if you are living there legally. This is considered consular processing and it’s much faster.

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