Home > Green Card > Filing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative – Eligibility


If you are a U.S. citizen or you have a Green Card (meaning you are a Lawful Permanent Resident) and you want your family to join you here, you can request immigrant visas for them by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is also known as filing a petition.

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Once the petition is approved, your relative can get a visa that will allow him or her to  come here to apply for a Green Card.

If you are a U.S. citizen and the person you are filing for is legally classified as an immediate relative, he or she won’t have to wait to get a visa because there is no cap on the number of visas issued for immigrants in this category.

On the other hand, if you are a Lawful Permanent Resident, your relative will be included in the Family Preference Visa Categories. Because there is a limited number of visas available for the people in each group every year, he or she will have to wait until the appropriate visa is available based on the “priority” or petition filing date.

Related form I-130, Petition for Alien RelativeWHO IS ELIGIBLE?

Eligibility as a Petitioner

You can qualify as  a petitioner — the person who files Form I-130 with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of certain relatives if you are a United States citizen who is, or if you are a Lawful Permanent of the United States (if you have a Green Card).

To prove that you are a U.S. citizen, you must provide copies of the following documents with Form I-130:

  • Your official birth certificate showing that you were born in the United States
  • Your naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS or the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
  • Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate
  • Your unexpired U.S. passport
  • An original statement written by a U.S. consular officer confirming that you are a U.S. citizen and that you have a current passport.

If you do not have any of the above documents and you were born in the United States, you may also provide the secondary evidence listed in the Instructions For Form I-130.

To prove that you are a Lawful Permanent resident of the United States, you must submit a copy of the front and back of your Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). If you haven’t received your card yet, you should provide copies of your passport page that contains your personal information and the page showing that you have been admitted to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident, or other documents issued by USCIS or the former INS that confirm your status.

You must also submit documents showing that you have a valid relationship with the person for whom you are filing the petition. For details, see the Instructions for Form I-130 here.

Eligibility as a Beneficiary

There are two eligibility categories for beneficiaries — the people for whom U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. These are the Immediate Relative Category and the Family Preference Visa Categories. If you qualify as a beneficiary in the Immediate Relative Category, you can get an immigrant visa to come to the U.S. straight away. If you qualify as a beneficiary in the Family Preference Visa Categories, you must wait until an immigrant visa is available.

You will qualify as a beneficiary in the Immediate Relative Category if you are:

  • The spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • An unmarried child of a U.S. citizen and you are less than 21 years of age
  • The married son or daughter of a U.S. citizen regardless of your age
  • The brother or sister of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21years of age
  • The mother or father of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years of age

You will qualify as a beneficiary in the Family Preference Visa Categories if you are:

  • The spouse of a Lawful Permanent Resident
  • The unmarried child of a Lawful Permanent Resident and you are less than 21 years of age
  • The unmarried son or daughter of a Lawful Permanent Resident and you are  at least 21 years of age

You do not qualify as a beneficiary in any category if you are:

  • The grandparent of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • The grandchild of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • The niece or nephew of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • The cousin of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • The mother-in-law or father-in-law of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident

For more information about other circumstances where you will be ineligible as a beneficiary, see the Instructions for Form I-130 here.

Effect of Trump Administration on Policies Family Immigration To the U.S.

As part of its crackdown on what it calls “chain migration,” or all family immigration other than that of spouses and minor children, the Trump Administration has all but stopped the processing of Form I-130 petitions for everyone — even spouses and children of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents.

In the 2017 fiscal year, USCIS processed slightly more than half (54 percent) of petitions made for Immediate Relatives, compared to nearly 70 percent in the previous fiscal year. In comparison, in the 2017 fiscal year, USCIS processed less than 10 percent of petitions made for people in Family Preference Visa categories, compared to 22 percent in the 2016 fiscal year.

By the end of the 2017 fiscal year, there were more than 820,000 pending petitions for beneficiaries in the Family Visa Preference Categories.

Basically what all of this means is that it will now take longer for everyone to get the visas needed to join their families here. Don’t hesitate to contact us If you have questions or concerns about Form I-130, eligibility, and how the Trump Administration’s policies affect you and your loved ones. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers are here to help.

Do I have to file a separate petition for each eligible relative?

In most cases, yes.

I am the beneficiary. Do I have to submit anything with Form I-130?

If you are the spouse beneficiary (the husband or wife) of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent resident, you must fill out form I-130A. You must sign it unless you are overseas. The petitioner must then submit it with Form I-130.

What is the cost of filing this petition?

The filing fee is $535

What if the petitioner’s or beneficiary’s name changed?

If either you  (the petitioner) or the beneficiary is using a name that is not the same name shown on the relevant documents, you must submit copies of any legal documents (such as a divorce decree, court order, marriage cerificate and so forth) that reflect the change with the petition.

Such a change in the schedule of interviews will make it possible to weed out those applicants who use groundless statements and try to use this process solely to obtain a work permit and will enable the USCIS to immediately identify such persons and begin the process of their deportation. In reality, the new Priority will allow the USCIS to make decisions on qualified asylum seekers more quickly and efficiently.

Once this petition is approved, is my relative automatically a lawful permanent resident, or can they come here immediately?

No. Approval of the application simply results in issuance of a visa that allows your relative to come here to pursue permanent residency.

Contact Attorney J.Greenberg


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    Check your Eligibility, Register, Begin your Forms, Sign & Pay when you’re Ready.

    Our innovative online system allows you to figure out exactly which case or immigration benefit you

    are likely eligible for, just by answering a few simple questions. After that, our system will allow you to register in our online client portal for free; with the assigned case you’re likely eligible for. You’ll be able to begin working on your case for free, by filling out our easy to understand forms (that become official USCIS forms) automatically, with our software. If you like our system and want to retain us for our Attorney Application Review service, you will be able to sign our representation agreement electronically and make your first payment.

    Schedule and have your Initial Consultation with your Attorney

    After you have made the minimum payment, you will be prompted to schedule your initial

    consultation with your attorney. Your attorney will then contact you on the date and at the time you select. During the Consultation, your attorney will verify that you are indeed eligible for the case our software assigned, and that it is the best option for you. They will then instruct you on how to properly continue to fill out your assigned Immigration Forms, and about any required or recommended supporting documentation for your case type. Your attorney will also seek to address any questions or concerns you may have, about your individual process and petition

    Finish completing your Forms, your Attorney Checks your Petition, and you Submit

    You will use our innovative software system to continue to fill out the necessary forms for

    your case, and any supporting documentation. Then when you have completed everything, your attorney will check your USCIS forms for accuracy, completeness, adherence to USCIS standards and procedures, and any possible ineligibility/inadmissibility grounds that might come up. Your attorney will tell you how best to address any problems with your petition that they observe, and then you will make the necessary and/or recommended changes. If you elected for the add-on service of having your attorney check your supporting documentation, they will also give you feedback on that. Once you have made the proper changes, you will print your petition, sign where indicated, and then send it off to USCIS in the pre-addressed and pre-paid envelope, we provide. From there, you’ll only have to make sure to respond to any ensuing correspondence or requests from USCIS, should there be any.
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    Your attorney will contact you as scheduled, for your consultation. They will verify your eligibility for

    the case our software pre-selected, and make sure it is actually the best option for you. Your attorney will detail the steps for handling your specific immigration matter, and render you any necessary and pertinent legal advice. Addressing your questions, and requesting any documents and information that you’ll need you to provide (such as birth certificates), will also be priorities of the consultation. If you did not already retain Zontlaw formally, your attorney will send you a price quote (with the $150 dollar consultation fee deducted from the cost of your representation); after the consultation. You can then formally sign and retain us as your attorneys. After you make your first payment, your attorney will proceed to the next step. If you have already retained us, you’ll make your first payment if you haven’t already (the one after the $150 minimum), and your attorney will automatically proceed to the next step.

    Your Attorney Compiles your Case, you Sign, and your Attorney Submits.

    Your attorney prepares all necessary USCIS forms and any supporting materials in their power. If

    there is supporting documentation that only you as the client have access to (ex: former employer letters), they will tell you exactly what you need to do and provide you with samples, so you can get the correct documentation. Once everything is ready, your attorney will compile your case into a professional legal petition, with a cover letter and a table of contents that will please USCIS and/or the other immigration authorities. They will check everything again, and send it to you to print and sign, via our secure online system. You will print and sign your completed case, and mail it to us in the envelope we provide. Your attorney will verify that you signed in the correct places, and they will send it off to the correct USCIS Dropbox, processing center, or other authority. It is possible that USCIS or other immigration authorities may request additional documentation/clarification regarding your petition. Your attorney will handle any such requests, communicating with you as required.
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    choose your attorney

    With more than a decade in the field, Julia Greenberg has earned a reputation as a highly successful immigration attorney. Since 2006, she has represented countless corporate and individual clients in complex matters ranging from removal (deportation) to asylum, family, business and investor’s petitions, and employment-based cases.

    Authorized to practice in immigrant courts throughout the United States, Ms. Greenberg may also appear before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, and Eastern districts of New York, and the New York Supreme Court. Ms. Greenberg takes pride in helping clients who have been unable to get satisfactory results elsewhere. Her honesty and compassion, combined with her expertise and vast knowledge of immigration law make her a formidable opponent in court – resulting in a long list of satisfied clients and positive referrals.

    Outside of court, Ms. Greenberg often addresses Congress regarding relevant legislation. She also devotes her spare time to making presentations at local events, where she answers questions for New York’s immigrant community.Ms. Greenberg is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where she is a member in good standing in its New York Chapter. Ms. Greenberg is also fluent in Russian.


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