Once you’ve become a naturalized resident of the United States, you can also help your family members come to the U.S. Whether you’re a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you can petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service on behalf of your spouse, children or parents who are residents of another country.
The beginning step in the process is to complete the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. You will need to complete one of these forms for each relative you’re trying to gain legal status for.
The I-130 establishes your (petitioner’s) relationship to the relative (beneficiary) and asks for an assortment of information about both you and the relative. You’ll also need to supply documentation establishing the validity of the relationship, such as birth records and marriage certificates. If you don’t have official documents, you can get affidavits (sworn statements), school records or church documents verifying marriages, deaths and births. If your documents aren’t in English, authorized translations must also be submitted.
One of the items in Part C of the I-130 asks for the address in the U.S. where your relative intends to live. If this family member will be living with you, put your address on this line. Since you’re the one who’s sponsoring your relative, it’s best if you put down the same address as yours, even if you’re not completely sure where they’ll end up living down the line when or if they obtain legal residency. It’s understandable that the proposed living situation could change in the amount of time it takes to process all of the paperwork to gain legal status for your family member, so don’t worry too much about this question. If an address change happens, you can adjust for that later.
It’s important when filling out this petition that you complete all of the questions without errors or omissions. Because we know that problems can result when the petitioner isn’t fluent in the English language, our service can help with translations of the material on the form. We can also help to make sure the writing is legible by printing out your information, as well as checking over your form for errors. This can save a considerable amount of time in the long-run by smoothing the path of processing your petition without unnecessary delays.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you sign the petition and enclose the processing fee of $420 by check or money order.
You’ll be notified by the USCIS when your petition is received by their office. It can take up to a year for you to receive word about the outcome of your petition. If it’s accepted, then you can set about applying for a visa for your family member.
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