A Skilled Immigration Lawyer Answers FAQs About Form I-130

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Petitioning your loved ones to the United States can be challenging. You may have multiple questions about the documents and process, which can become overwhelming. For this reason, you need the assistance of a seasoned immigration attorney.

Explore the complexities surrounding Form I-130, the primary document you use to petition for your alien relatives. Here, you will also find the answers to the common questions regarding the application process.

As you navigate the requirements and steps involved, anticipate gaining valuable insights that will empower you to pursue permanent U.S. residency for your family.

Find Important Questions Regarding The I-130 Immigration Form And How To Start Your Case Now

What Is Form I-130?

Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative, is a fundamental document within the U.S. immigration system. Its primary role is officially recognizing the relationship between a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident and their foreign relative. Completing the form initiates the process for them to immigrate to the United States.

However, its approval does not immediately confer legal status or benefits upon the relative. It only signifies the commencement of the complex journey toward family-based immigration.

This crucial initial step is indispensable for reunifying families across international borders. It is the gateway to further application procedures and potential eligibility for residency and citizenship within the United States. Therefore, you must partner with an experienced Green Card lawyer to navigate these intricacies confidently and smoothly.

Why Do You Need An Immigration Lawyer?

Hiring a skilled lawyer is essential due to the complexities of immigration law. These professionals are well-versed in the constantly evolving regulations and can work around the legal intricacies with knowledge and confidence. They can also assist you with immigration paperwork, such as the Petition for Alien Relative form.

While establishing a qualifying familial relationship is the essence of filing the form, you must understand the exclusions. Certain relationships do not qualify to complete the petition.

Who Can You Petition Using Form I-130?

U.S. citizens can file this form for their spouses, children, parents, and siblings. Current Green Card holders can also petition for their spouses and unmarried children.

However, certain familial relationships do not qualify an individual for this immigration document. You cannot sponsor relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, cousins, or parents-in-law. Additionally, a more complex familial situation, such as the following, excludes an individual from filing the form.

  • An adoptive child cannot be sponsored if the adoption occurred after the child turned 16.
  • If you obtained U.S. citizenship through adoption, you cannot file for your biological parent.
  • Stepchildren cannot be sponsored if the marriage occurs after the child turns 18.
  • Spouses are ineligible if neither party was physically present at the marriage ceremony. They can also not file Form I-130 if the marriage occurred while the sponsoring spouse was involved in immigration court proceedings.
  • Individuals cannot sponsor their partner if they acquired Green Card status through a previous marriage unless they have been permanent residents for at least five years.

Petitioning for a family member is a complex process involving various steps before USCIS approves your petition. Given this complexity, one common concern is the duration of the process.

How Long Does The Petition Process Take?

The duration of the I-130 petition can vary significantly but generally ranges from five to 14 months. This timeframe depends on two main factors: the USCIS field office that receives your form and your relationship with your beneficiary.

Field Office That Receives Your Form

At times, the duration of your filing process is up to the office that receives your form. They can significantly affect your petition’s processing time due to workload variations and staffing levels at different offices.

The USCIS operates multiple field offices and service centers nationwide, each processing a different volume of applications. Some offices receive more applications than others, leading to varied processing times.

Type Of Family Relationship

USCIS categorizes family-based immigration petitions into two main groups: Immediate Relative petitions and Family Preference petitions. These categories are subject to different processing times. This is primarily due to annual caps on some categories and the prioritization of immediate family members of U.S. citizens.

The processing time can take between 13.5 and 19 months for immediate relatives of a Green Card holder. Meanwhile, for family members of U.S. citizens, the duration can be between 10 and 14 months. Additionally, petitioning for the siblings of U.S. citizens can take 13.5 months to several years.

Considering such timeframes, it’s advisable to file the form as soon as possible. The sooner you file, the shorter the waiting period. While it’s okay to hope your application gets approved, there’s another side to the story: things don’t always go according to plan. Some petitions get denied, but why? 

What Factors Lead To A Denial?

While the denial of your I-130 petition can be disheartening, it is crucial to understand the common reasons for such rejections. You must identify what went wrong and prepare for future submissions or appeals.

Gaining insight into the components contributing to your petition’s denial can help you better anticipate and proactively address potential hurdles. Here are some factors that may lead to this outcome.

Inadequate Information

Insufficient information submitted with the form can lead to rejection. Typically, a Request for Evidence (RFE) precedes a denial. Failure to respond adequately to the RFE or provide necessary information may result in the rejection of your Visa petition.

Moreover, the quality of documents is crucial. If submitted birth or marriage certificates are unclear, untranslated, or lack authenticity from an official government source, USCIS may deny the petition.

Eligibility Issues

Denial of the petition can occur if the petitioner is ineligible to file or if the beneficiary lacks a qualifying family relationship. Relationships must align with either immediate relative or family preference categories. Understanding the eligibility criteria, especially with adoptive and step relationships, is essential before filing.

Failure To Substantiate Petitioner’s StatusLearn Important Information About The I-130 Process And The Help An Immigration Lawyer Provides

Only U.S. citizens or Green Card holders can file Form I-130. Proof of the petitioner’s status is crucial and should accompany the petition. U.S. citizens can provide a Certificate of Citizenship, Naturalization Certificate, birth certificate (if born in the United States), or an American passport. Lawful Permanent Residents can submit a copy of their permanent resident card, among other acceptable documents.

Considering these factors, it’s crucial to collaborate closely with a seasoned family immigration attorney to minimize the risk of denials. Nonetheless, your lawyer can provide valuable assistance in navigating and addressing such setbacks in case of a USCIS denial.

What Can You Do If Your Petition Is Denied?

USCIS may deny your I-130 petition for various reasons, ranging from minor procedural issues to more complex matters like fraud or unrecognized familial relationships. In such situations, an adept family immigration attorney can help you overcome these challenges. Various options are available to work out a denied petition.

Appeal To The Board Of Immigration Appeals

You can appeal your denied petition to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). This may be your best option, especially if your lawyer believes they can overturn the USCIS decision. Because you may only have a limited amount of time to appeal, it is essential to review your denial notice thoroughly.

New Application

One option you can consider is filing a new application with supplementary proof. However, you have to consider your current circumstances, and you’ll have to spend time filing a new petition. Nonetheless, you can reapply for the same relative if denied the first time.

The knowledge and help of an experienced immigration lawyer can make a huge difference. In filing for a new application, it is advisable to seek legal guidance. 

Where Can You Seek Legal Guidance?

At Lozano Law Firm, a dedicated team is committed to guiding families through the intricate immigration process. These lawyers firmly believe in immigrants’ positive contributions to the United States. They are committed to facilitating these opportunities for clients by navigating the complexities of immigration law.

Central to their values is the recognition of families’ essential role in American society. The team is dedicated to empowering them by providing comprehensive support throughout the immigration process. Their experienced attorneys diligently work to address each applicant’s unique circumstances with care and attention to detail.


An immigration lawyer provides crucial insights into Form I-130, which is essential for facilitating family reunification in the United States. This form establishes official relationships between U.S. citizens or Green Card holders and their foreign relatives, including spouses, children, and parents. However, denials may occur due to insufficient information or eligibility issues.

In such cases, skilled legal guidance becomes indispensable, assisting in navigating denials through appeals or reapplications. The Lozano Law Firm focuses on guiding families through the complexities of immigration. Its team of immigration attorneys is committed to helping families reunite and establish residency in the United States.

About Alfredo Lozano

alfredo lozano of lozano law firm inAlfredo Lozano is the founder and principal attorney at Lozano Law Firm, an immigration law firm serving the communities of San Antonio, Eagle Pass, Laredo and San Angelo in business and family-based immigration law. Mr. Lozano is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the San Antonio Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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