Form I-929: A Guide to Petitioning for a Qualifying Family Member as a U-1 Nonimmigrant

Form I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant, serves as an essential document within the United States immigration system. It is specifically designed for the use of those holding U-1 nonimmigrant status, widely known as the U visa, which is granted to noncitizens who are victims of certain crimes and have assisted law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. The form allows U-1 visa holders to request immigration benefits for family members who have never held U nonimmigrant status, enabling them to live and work in the United States by extension of the U-1 visa holder’s status.

Successfully filing Form I-929 is a crucial step toward securing the safety and unity of families whose members have faced victimization.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires a detailed account of the relationship between the U-1 nonimmigrant and their qualifying family members, along with a fee for processing the application. The aim is to ensure that those who have aided the U.S. justice system by stepping forward are not left without the support and presence of their close relatives.

Understanding the nuances and requirements of Form I-929 can significantly impact the lives of U-1 nonimmigrant visa holders and their loved ones. It establishes the eligibility for family members to join the principal applicant in the United States, potentially paving the way for them to also adjust their status and, where applicable, ultimately apply for lawful permanent residency. The precise completion and submission of this form play a pivotal role in maintaining familial bonds during the process of immigration and adaptation to life in the U.S.

Overview of Form I-929

Form I-929 is a critical document for family members of U-1 nonimmigrant visa holders seeking immigration benefits in the United States.

Purpose of Form I-929

Form I-929, officially titled “Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant,” serves a specific function within the U.S. immigration system. It allows individuals who have been granted U nonimmigrant status, which is typically conferred on victims of criminal activity who assist law enforcement, to petition on behalf of certain family members so that they may also be granted derivative U nonimmigrant status.

Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility for filing Form I-929 is contingent on the petitioner holding U-1 nonimmigrant status. The qualifying family members must fall into specific categories related to their relationship with the U-1 visa holder:

  • For petitioners under 21 years of age: They may petition on behalf of their spouse, children, parents, and unmarried siblings under 18 years of age.
  • For petitioners 21 years of age or older: They are limited to petitioning for their spouse and children.

All qualifying family members for whom the petition is filed must not have held U nonimmigrant status previously.

Filling Out Form I-929

Completing Form I-929 is a pathway for qualifying family members of U-1 nonimmigrant visa holders to seek immigration benefits. Precision and accuracy in providing detailed information are crucial for the application process.

Required Documentation

The petitioner must compile a comprehensive dossier of supporting documents when filing Form I-929. These typically include:

  • Identification proof: Copies of government-issued identification for both the petitioner and the relative.
  • Evidence of relationship: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, or other legal documents must be provided to establish the qualifying familial relationship.
  • Proof of U-1 visa holder status: Copies of documents illustrating the relative’s U-1 nonimmigrant status.
  • Translation of non-English documents: All supporting documents not in English require certified translations.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To fill out Form I-929 correctly, follow these steps:

  1. Complete all sections: Start by filling out personal details about the petitioner and the family member.
    • Part 1: Information about the petitioner.
    • Part 2: Information about the alien relative.
  2. Detail the relationship: Provide a thorough explanation to demonstrate why the family member qualifies for benefits.
  3. Sign and date the form: The petitioner must sign Form I-929, confirming the accuracy of the information provided.
  4. Submit the form along with the filing fee: Ensure to include the correct fee, as required by USCIS.
  5. Include all required documentation: Attach all the above-mentioned supporting documents with the petition package.

By following these specific steps and assuring all relevant documents are submitted, the petitioner can adeptly complete Form I-929 and advance through the immigration process for their family member.

After Submission

Once Form I-929 is submitted, the applicant enters a phase of waiting and anticipation for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process the petition. The following outlines what happens after submission.

Receipt and Processing

After submitting Form I-929, the petitioner will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. This notice confirms USCIS has received the form and provides a receipt number, which can be used to track the status of the application. Processing times may vary, and applicants should expect to wait several months before receiving further communication from USCIS.

Approval and Next Steps

If the petition for a qualifying family member is approved, USCIS will notify the applicant. The approval signifies that the family member is now eligible to apply for a visa or adjustment of status, depending on their location and circumstances. It is important for beneficiaries to adhere to USCIS guidelines for their subsequent applications.

In Case of Denial

In the event of a denial, USCIS will provide a notice explaining the reasons for the decision. Applicants may have the option to file an appeal or a motion to reopen or reconsider the case. It’s critical to understand the deadline for such actions and ensure any additional information or documentation is submitted promptly to support the appeal or motion.

Legal Considerations

When dealing with Form I-929, legal considerations play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the petition. Key points include grounds for ineligibility and the legal status implications for the applicant and their qualifying family members.

Grounds for Ineligibility

Certain conditions may disqualify an individual from petitioning on behalf of a family member using Form I-929. Ineligibility grounds can include:

  • Criminal History: The presence of a criminal record in the petitioner’s or beneficiary’s past may affect eligibility.
  • Immigration Violations: Prior violations of immigration laws by the petitioner or beneficiary might lead to ineligibility.
  • Misrepresentation of Facts: Providing false information on the petition can result in disqualification.

Legal Status Implications

The approval or denial of Form I-929 has significant ramifications on the legal status of the petitioner’s family members:

  • Approval Implications:
    • If approved, qualifying family members may obtain lawful permanent resident status.
    • Beneficiaries outside the U.S. would need to seek admission through a U.S. consulate.
  • Denial Implications:
    • A denial can mean that family members will not be able to legally reside in the United States based on the petition.
    • The petitioner may have options to appeal or reapply, depending on the reason for denial.

Resources and Assistance

When seeking to file Form I-929, it is vital to use accurate resources and receive proper assistance to ensure the application is complete and compliant with USCIS regulations.

Official USCIS Resources

Website Access: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides comprehensive information and resources through their official website. Applicants can download the latest version of Form I-929 directly in PDF format.

  • Instructions: Detailed instructions for filling out Form I-929 are available, offering step-by-step guidance.
  • Filing Fees: The current filing fees, along with any exemptions or waivers, are listed to help applicants prepare the correct payment.
  • Support: USCIS also offers a customer service center number for applicants with specific inquiries or who need additional support.

Legal Aid and Advice

Non-Profit Organizations: Many non-profit organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to individuals filing Form I-929. These organizations often employ attorneys and accredited representatives who can help with the application process.

  • Consultations: Most legal aid organizations provide initial consultations to understand the applicant’s situation and advise on the best course of action.
  • Representation: In some cases, these entities may be able to represent the applicant throughout the USCIS application process.

Private Attorneys: For those who prefer more personalized service, private immigration attorneys are available for hire. They can offer:

  • Comprehensive services from initial filing to potential appeals.
  • Tailor-made legal advice specific to the unique circumstances of the applicant’s case.

Applicants should ensure any attorney or accredited representative is authorized to practice immigration law in the United States.