The I-130 is the first step in filing for family to immigrate to the United States, or to adjust status if they’re already present in the United States. The purpose of the I-130 is to show to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you have a bona fide family relationship and that your loved one who you are filing for is eligible to receive these benefits. Only citizens and permanent residents can file a petition, and priority is given to family of citizens. But, generally speaking, what kinds of family members are eligible for an I-130 family-based petition? Which are not eligible? What sort of evidence do you need to prove to USCIS that a bona fide family relationship exists? This article is for general education purposes, the best way to find out if your loved one is eligible for immigration benefits is to consult with an I-130 lawyer.
Who is and isn’t Eligible?
Which family members are eligible depends on the immigration status of the person filing the petition. For US citizens, they can file for their spouse, their unmarried children under the age of 21, married children of any age, siblings, and their parents. For permanent residents, they can file for their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Adoption can complicate things. An adoptive parent or adoptive child cannot file if the adoption took place after the child turned 16, or if the child isn’t in the custody of the parent for the past two years. An adopted child also cannot file for lawful status for their birth parents. There are other reasons why you might not be able to file. A stepparent or stepchild cannot file for a stepchild if the marriage happened after the child turned 21. Grandparents, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, couns, and parents-in-law cannot file for their grandchildren, grandparents, etc. Also, depending on the circumstances of the marriage, a person filing for their spouse might need to demonstrate more than a bona fide marriage relationship. If both spouses were not present at the wedding ceremony, for example, a wedding needs to be consummated in order for the spouse to file for the other spouse. And, even if a genuine family relationship does exist, there could be situations where benefits later down the line get denied because of a criminal record, health concerns, or for security reasons. In order to make sure your relative is actually eligible for immigration benefits under the I-130, you should speak with an I-130 lawyer.
Evidence Required to Prove Familial Relationship
In general, the I-130 is mean to establish that you have a bona fide familial relationship with the person you’re petitioning for, and that person can be a spouse, a parent, a child, or a sibling. Because the family relationships are so different, you will need different kinds of evidence to prove each relationship, and for spousal relationships there are additional hurdles you will need to pass. Evidence required to prove a relationship with a parent can differ for fathers and mothers. For mothers, all you need is a birth certificate showing both your name and your mother’s name, and if either you or your mother have changed names since your birth certificate was issued, any court orders that show your name on your birth certificate and your current identity. For fathers, if you were not born out of wedlock, you need to submit a birth certificate that shows both of your parents’ names and your father’s marriage certificate to your mother, as well as any divorce certificates for any marriages your father may have had prior to marrying your mother. If you were born out of wedlock, then you need to submit documentation that shows you were legitimated under whatever the law was in the jurisdiction you were in when you were born before you reached the age of 18. If you were not legitimated under law, you must be able to demonstrate that you and your father had a legitimate relationship prior to your turning 21. If you’re filing for children, whether you’re the mother or father, you will also need to file similar evidence to prove that a parental relationship exists between you and your child. For more detailed information about what evidence you will need, including what you need to establish your identity and the identity of the person you are filing for, please contact an I-130 lawyer.
Why Speak With an I-130 Lawyer?
An I-130 lawyer can evaluate your case to help you find any potential pitfalls that could occur, and help you to gather the evidence that you will need to prove your case. Immigration lawyers have years of experience dealing with USCIS, and have experience with what evidence does and doesn’t work. For more information, click here.