If you have a spouse or immediate relative that you want to immigrate to the United States, you start with filing a I-130 petition. Both U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may sponsor their family members for this type of residency. This process will place you into a “Preference Category” determining the availability of visas and your expected wait time before you can file to receive a Green Card. Each category is given a numerical quota of visas to limit the number of immigrants admitted to the U.S. determined by Congress.
Merely having an I-130 Petition approved does not mean that your relative’s visa has been approved. Rather, once your petition is approved, you then become eligible to apply for permanent residence either via an Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. Because of this can be a complication process, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced immigration attorney before filing an I-130 Petition.
The attorneys at Ervin Kibria PLLC have extensive experience in filing successful petitions for family-based immigration. During our initial consultation, we will gladly walk you through the process of filing the petition and then applying for permanent residence and help develop a clear strategy on how to achieve a successful result in your case.
Does an I-130 Petition Apply to Your Relative?
An I-130 petition is used to petition for visa eligibility for an immediate relative. USCIS defines an “immediate relative” as:
- Spouses (including same-sex marriages)
- Children under 21 years of age (and must also be unmarried)
These immediate relatives are able to immigrate to the United States without any waiting period and file the I-130 petition from the US.
Other close family members of a U.S. citizen can qualify to immigrate to the United States. However, unlike the immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, they are subject to the limit put in place by Congress which restricts the immigrant visas available in this category each year. A visa becomes available to a preference category according to the priority date (the date the I-130 was properly filed). This process applies to the following types of relatives:
- Unmarried Children Over 21 Years of Age
- Married Children of US Citizens
- Brothers and Sisters of US Citizens