How to File I-130 Form

File I-130

When a U.S. citizen or lawful resident of the U.S. wants to help relatives immigrate to the U.S., the form I-130 is used to declare and establish the relationship of the citizen with the immigrant. The form is also called the Petition for Alien Relative. You need to file a separate form for each relative wishing to apply for immigration/green card. Filing and approval of an I-130 is only the first step in helping a relative immigrate to the U.S.

Steps to File I-130 Form

1Fill out the I-130 form and prepare the package with the following required documents:

  • Passport-style photos of your relative as per the specifications by U.S. immigration.
  • Photocopies of legal documents that prove your relationship. For spouse you need the marriage certificate. If either of you were married earlier, you also need proof of the earlier marriage being terminated (divorce documents). For parents/children, you need documentary evidence of the relationship.
  • Documentary proof of your U.S. citizenship or legal permanent status, if you are a green card holder.
  • If applying for a spouse, also fill the G-325a, which is a biographical data form. You need to fill this separately for you and your spouse, four forms each.
  • A cover letter stating the purpose of application and listing the table of contents, including the documents included in the package.

2Mail the package to the appropriate USCIS office (if your relative lives in the U.S.) or U.S. embassy (if your relative lives abroad). Refer to the I-130 instructions to find out where to send your package.

3Once you have mailed the package, you need to wait for the first I-797 Notice of Action or NOA1, which is a letter from the USCIS acknowledging receipt of your package. It will include a case identification number. You can go to the USCIS website and enter your case number to follow up on your petition.

4Once the visa petition is approved, you will receive the second I-797 Notice of Action or NOA2. The NOA2 is the notice of approval. Once you have received this, it indicates that your I-130 process is complete.

Other "How To" ARTICLES


How Can I Renew My Green Card?
Learn how to apply for US citizenship & the US citizenship process. Expert articles on how to Become a US citizen & more.

US Visas

How Can I Renew My Green Card?
Find out how to apply for a US Visa. Expert articles will help you figure out which US visa is right for you!

Immigration Forms

How Can I Renew My Green Card?
Learn how to file immigration forms. Expert articles will help you understand the different immigration forms available.

Share the page