For immigrants with legal permanent resident status, as well as those who become naturalized United States citizens, the first step in sponsoring a relative to come to the United States just got simpler: the form essential to begin the process is now available online. With the tap of a finger or the click of a mouse, petitioners have online access to Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, the form that must be completed before a relative can be considered for permanent resident status.
If approved, Form I-130 establishes the relationship between the petitioner and the relative, which then gives the go-ahead for the relative to begin the green card process for themselves. For U.S. citizens, they can file Form I-130 for the following relatives: their spouse, children under 21 years of age, unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age and older, married sons or daughters of any age, brothers or sisters (if the petitioner is 21 years of age or older), and their mother or father (if the petitioner is 21 years of age or older). For immigrants with legal permanent resident status, they can file Form I-130 for the following relatives: their spouse, children under 21 years of age, and unmarried sons or daughters 21 years of age and older. After a Form I-130 is filed, a petitioner should receive a Form I-797C, Notice of Action within a few weeks.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes Form I-130, as well as a number of other benefit forms, available online on the USCIS website. “Going paperless offers big advantages to immigrants with legal permanent resident status and U.S. citizens who otherwise would have to complete a hard copy form in-person,” states Immigration Attorney Mario A. Godoy of Godoy Law Office. “It will be interesting to see how simplification of the process impacts the application process moving forward.”
Completing Form I-130 online allows petitioners to create an online account and answer only questions that pertain to the specific form being completed. To complete Form I-130, a petitioner may need to provide biographical information, including hair color, eye color, race, and ethnicity. Additionally, an individual filling out Form I-130 may be required to provide information regarding a beneficiary’s physical address, contact information, and employment information.
Additionally, another benefit of Form I-130 being online includes the ability to manage other aspects of the form completion under one account. All fees, uploading of necessary documents, and updating account information can be done at one time and under one account. This gives the petitioner a full history of their interactions with the agency and the status of their applications. As a result, a petitioner may be able to more easily understand the management of Form I-130 in a comprehensive manner.
Ultimately, the addition of Form I-130 to the list of applications available online further helps streamline the process and provides a consolidated access point for those applying for other benefits as well. Individuals with questions about Form I-130 may access the instructions and frequently asked questions document provided on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website.