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.
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”).
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.
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.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.