USCIS made Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, available online in October 2019, adding to their list of applications and forms that can be e-filed. If you need to file an I-130, you can submit all required forms and supporting evidence electronically, as well as track your case and receive notices on the status of your application.
According to USCIS, Form I-130 is one of the most widely used forms, and their transition to online, paperless filing was done in order to make their agency “more effective and more efficient.” Online filing often results in quicker and more streamlined case processing. However, since online filing is a relatively new process for USCIS and is still being developed, there are many things to take into account when choosing the best way to file a petition.
Form I-130 is often the first step for family members to apply for a Green Card. This application allows eligible relatives to immigrate to the United States, but it does not give any immigration status or benefit. Once the I-130 petition is approved, the immigrating relative can then complete the application for a Green Card.
There are eligibility categories that the family member must fall into in order to apply for their Green Card. The USCIS website has a list of the qualifying factors and the next steps to take for each. For many people, Form I-130 is the beginning stage of the path to obtaining a Green Card.
U.S. citizens can file I-130s for their spouses or children. Applicants over the age of 21 can also file for their mother, father, brothers, or sisters. Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. can file for their spouse or children. A separate Form I-130 must be filed for each relative. Eligible spouses may need to complete Form I-130A, which must be included with the I-130 at filing.
There are several reasons why it might make more sense for someone to file a physical copy rather than file online. If you’re debating whether to file your petition online or through a physical mailing, here are a few things to consider:
Overall, extremely straightforward cases with no special circumstances can likely be filed successfully online, and this is a good option for many people. If you choose to file online, it is important to read the instructions carefully and complete each field properly so that the case does not get denied or returned for a simple error.
As of the beginning of January 2023, the following forms are available to be filed electronically with USCIS by creating an online account:
Whichever way you decide to apply, whether utilizing the USCIS virtual system or through a paper application, keep in mind the requirements. Ensure you’ve included all the necessary supporting documentation, such as:
Some applicants may be required to include two qualifying photographs, such as a passport photo.
By increasing the availability of online applications and making documents like Form I-130 more accessible, USCIS is moving in the right direction. We hope that they will continue to make strides toward making the immigration system more effective.
Passage Immigration works every day to help people with their immigration needs, so please visit our website or call us at (503) 427-8243 if you need assistance.
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