I-130 Supporting Documents for Parents: A Complete Checklist for Your Family Immigration Petition

The process of petitioning for parents to become permanent residents of the United States involves filing Form I-130, the Petition for Alien Relative. When a U.S. citizen is at least 21, they can sponsor their parents’ immigration to the United States. This is a critical step in reuniting families and allows parents to live and work as legal permanent residents.

Gathering the necessary supporting documents is a fundamental part of this process. Accurate and complete documentation must be submitted to demonstrate the familial relationship and establish the petition’s legitimacy.

Among these documents are proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or passport, and proof of the parent’s identity and nationality through documents like a foreign passport. Additional information related to the petitioner’s address and employment history is also required to comply with USCIS requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

To successfully file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for a parent, sponsors must meet specific eligibility requirements regarding their relationship with the parent and their status in the United States.

Parent-Child Relationship Evidence

Proof of a legitimate parent-child relationship is mandatory for the I-130 petition process. The following are accepted as evidence:

  • Birth certificate showing the names of both the petitioning child and the parent.
  • If applicable, adoption certificates or other legal documentation establishing the relationship.
  • Photographscorrespondence, and other secondary evidence may be requested if primary documents are unavailable or insufficient.

Sponsor Age and Citizenship Status

The sponsor must fulfill age and citizenship status criteria for the petition to be considered valid:

  • Age: The petitioning child must be at least 21 years old.
  • Citizenship: The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen. Lawful permanent residents cannot sponsor a parent for permanent residency through the I-130 form.

Application Forms and Fees

When filing an I-130 petition for alien relatives, petitioners must understand the specific documentation required and the associated fees.

I-130 Form Details

The I-130 form, officially titled “Petition for Alien Relative,” is the primary document used by U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents to establish a familial relationship with a relative seeking permanent residency in the United States. The petitioner must complete this form accurately and attach all necessary evidence to prove the relationship with their parent.

Payment Information

The fee for filing Form I-130 is set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is subject to change. As of the last update, the fee is $535. A check, money order must make payment, or credit card using Form G-1450, “Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.” If residing outside the United States, the petitioner should verify the accepted payment methods with the local U.S. Embassy or consulate.

Supporting Evidence

When filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for parents, petitioners must provide specific supporting evidence to establish the familial relationship and each party’s eligibility.

Birth Certificates

Petitioner’s Birth Certificate: Essential for proving the relationship between the petitioner and the parent. It must include:

  • Petitioner’s full name.
  • Petitioner’s date of birth.
  • Names of both parents.

Parent’s Birth Certificate: Required to confirm the parent’s identity and familial tie to the petitioner. The certificate should display:

  • Parent’s full name.
  • Parent’s date of birth.
  • Information about the parent’s parents, if applicable.

Marriage Termination Documentation

If the petitioner’s parents are divorced or if one of the parents is widowed, relevant documents must be included:

  • Divorce Decree: A certified copy of the final divorce decree for prior marriages.
  • Death Certificate: In the case of a widow or widower, a copy of the deceased spouse’s death certificate.

Proof of Status

The petitioner is required to prove their U.S. Citizenship or lawful permanent residence:

  • U.S. Citizenship: A valid U.S. passport, a state-issued birth certificate, or a naturalization certificate.
  • Lawful Permanent Residence: A copy of the front and back of the Form I-551 (Green card).

Financial Documents

When applying for US citizenship petition for parents‘ immigration via the I-130 form, the petitioner must provide financial documents to prove they can support the parent financially. This is crucial to establishing the petitioner’s ability to bear the financial responsibilities for the relative they are sponsoring.

Affidavit of Support

The Affidavit of Support is a legally enforceable contract the petitioner must sign, indicating that they agree to use their financial resources to support their immigrant relative if necessary. It must be executed on Form I-864, and the petitioner needs to show an income level at or above 125% of the federal poverty line for their household size.

Federal Income Tax Returns

Petitioners must submit their Federal Income Tax Returns for the most recent tax year. This includes the IRS Form 1040 and W-2s. If the petitioner has been employed by the same employer for several years, they should consider providing tax returns for the last three years to strengthen their case.

Proof of Assets

In cases where the petitioner’s income does not meet the required threshold, they can show Proof of Assets. This includes bank statements, property documentation, and investment accounts that could be converted to cash within a year. The total value of these assets must be five times the difference between the petitioner’s income and the aforementioned poverty line minimum, or only three times if the Petitioner is a U.S. citizen applying for a spouse or child.

Additional Documentation

When petitioning for a parent to immigrate to the United States, the petitioner must supply additional items beyond the basic paperwork. These enhance the application by substantiating identity and relationship.

Passport Photos

The applicant must provide two identical passport-style color photographs. The photographs should be 2 inches by 2 inches in size, taken within the last 30 days. They must be on a plain white or off-white background, showing the full face with a neutral expression and both eyes open.

Evidence of Bonafide Relationship

A bona fide parent-child relationship must be documented through several types of evidence:

  • Birth certificate: An unaltered copy displaying the parent’s and applicant’s names.
  • Photographs: Candid pictures demonstrating a relationship over time.
  • Records of Communication: Emails, letters, phone records, or social media interactions that establish an ongoing relationship.
  • Financial Support: Documents such as remittance records or money transfer receipts, if applicable.

Submission Instructions

When filing the I-130 form to petition for a parent, it’s crucial to follow the correct mailing or online submission procedures to ensure the application is processed without delays.

Mailing Addresses

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deliveries, petitioners must send their Form I-130 to the address provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that corresponds with their place of residence. If the petitioner uses FedEx, UPS, and DHL, a different address may be designated for package delivery. Specific addresses are provided on the USCIS website or the instructions attached to Form I-130, as they are subject to change. Always verify the current mailing address before sending your documents.

Online Filing Procedures

Eligible petitioners have the option of filing the I-130 form online. This requires creating an account on the official USCIS website. After logging in, petitioners can complete the form electronically, pay the required fees, and upload supporting documents. The USCIS online portal also allows petitioners to check the status of their applications and receive notifications about the next steps in the process.

Post-Submission Steps

After submitting Form I-130 for a parent, one must understand the subsequent steps in the application process. This ensures preparedness for what comes next and contributes to a smoother overall experience.

Receipt of Application

Once the I-130 petition is received, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues a Receipt Notice. This notice confirms that USCIS has the application and provides a receipt number. The receipt number is essential for tracking the application’s progress online through the USCIS Case Status tool.

Biometrics Appointment

The applicant’s parent will be scheduled for a Biometrics Appointment if required. USCIS collects fingerprints, a photograph, and a signature at this appointment to conduct necessary background checks. The applicant’s parent will receive a notice with the appointment’s date, time, and location.

Interview Preparation

Applicants must prepare themselves and their parents for a potential interview with a USCIS officer. They should:

  • Collect original documents for verification.
  • Review the details of the I-130 application to ensure consistency in responses.
  • Be ready to provide additional evidence of the family relationship if requested.

Possible Outcomes

When submitting Form I-130 for one’s parents, three primary responses can be expected from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): an Approval Notice, a Request for Evidence, or a Notice of Denial with an opportunity to appeal.

Approval Notice

An Approval Notice signifies that USCIS has reviewed and approved the I-130 petition. This notice serves as official confirmation of the petition’s acceptance, paving the way for the next steps in the immigration process for the parent, which may include applying for a green card. For further procedures, applicants can check the guide of “what happens after my I-130 is approved”.

Request for Evidence

Request for Evidence (RFE) is issued when USCIS requires additional documentation to decide. It precisely outlines the evidence needed and provides a deadline by which it must be submitted. Failure to respond adequately and promptly can result in the denial of the petition.

Denial and Appeal Process

If the petition is denied, USCIS will send a Denial Notice that explains the reasons. The petitioner can appeal the decision or file a motion to reopen the case if they believe it was made incorrectly. The notice outlines specific deadlines and procedures for appealing the decision.