I-130 Made Easy: Your Comprehensive Step-by-Step Instructions

How to fill out Form I-130

Filling out Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is an important step in sponsoring a family member for immigration to the United States. This form is used to establish the qualifying relationship between a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and their foreign relative who wishes to immigrate. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

Step 1: Download the Form Visit the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website ( and locate the Form I-130. Download the most recent version of the form and its instructions.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents Before you begin filling out the form, gather the necessary documents. This may include proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, as well as documents demonstrating your relationship with the beneficiary (such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, or adoption decrees).

Step 3: Complete Form I-130 Follow these guidelines as you complete the form:

  • Part 1: Information About You (Petitioner)
    • Provide your personal information, including your name, address, date of birth, and U.S. citizenship or permanent residency details.
  • Part 2: Information About the Beneficiary
    • Include the beneficiary’s name, date of birth, and relationship to you (spouse, child, parent, etc.).
  • Part 3: Additional Information About You (Petitioner)
    • Answer the questions about your history, such as previous marriages, prior petitions, and criminal history.
  • Part 4: Information About Your Beneficiary’s Relatives
    • If applicable, provide details about the beneficiary’s other relatives in the U.S.
  • Part 5: Signature of the Petitioner
    • Sign and date the form.

Step 4: Include Supporting Documents Attach all necessary supporting documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and proof of your U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Make sure to organize these documents in the order requested by the form instructions.

Step 5: Pay the Filing Fee Include the required filing fee with your Form I-130. Check the USCIS website for the current fee amount and acceptable payment methods.

Step 6: Review and Prepare Your Package Double-check that all information is accurate and that you’ve included all required documents. Create a cover letter that lists the contents of your package. This makes it easier for USCIS to process your application.

Step 7: Mail Your Application Send your completed Form I-130, supporting documents, and payment to the address provided in the form instructions. Use a trackable mailing method to ensure your package reaches USCIS.

Step 8: Wait for USCIS Processing Once USCIS receives your application, they will process it and send you a receipt notice. This notice will have a case number that you can use to track the progress of your application online.

Step 9: Respond to Requests for Evidence (if necessary) If USCIS requires additional information or documentation, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). Respond promptly to ensure the processing continues smoothly.

Step 10: Await Decision After USCIS reviews your application and supporting documents, they will issue a decision. If approved, your petition will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) or a U.S. consulate for further processing, depending on the beneficiary’s location.

Remember, Form I-130 can be complex, and even a small mistake could delay the process. If you’re unsure about any part of the form, consider seeking legal advice or assistance from an immigration attorney or accredited representative.

Form I-130 checklist

Creating a comprehensive I-130 checklist can help ensure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents and information before you start filling out the form. Here’s a checklist to guide you through the process:

Personal Information:

  • Petitioner’s full legal name
  • Petitioner’s contact information (address, phone number, email)
  • Petitioner’s date of birth
  • Petitioner’s U.S. citizenship or permanent residency details (naturalization certificate, green card, etc.)
  • Beneficiary’s full legal name
  • Beneficiary’s contact information
  • Beneficiary’s date of birth
  • Beneficiary’s relationship to the petitioner

Supporting Documents:

  • Proof of Petitioner’s U.S. citizenship (U.S. passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or consular report of birth abroad)
  • Proof of Petitioner’s permanent residency (copy of green card, if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (if sponsoring a spouse)
  • Birth certificates for children (if sponsoring children)
  • Evidence of relationship between petitioner and beneficiary (marriage certificates, birth certificates, adoption decrees, etc.)
  • Divorce decrees or death certificates (if applicable)
  • Proof of any legal name changes (court orders, marriage certificates, etc.)
  • Passport-sized photos of petitioner and beneficiary (if required)

Additional Information:

  • Details about any previous marriages for petitioner and beneficiary (dates, locations, reasons for termination)
  • Information about prior immigration petitions filed for the beneficiary
  • Information about the beneficiary’s prior visits to the U.S., if applicable
  • Criminal history information for the petitioner, if applicable


  • Check or money order for the filing fee (check the USCIS website for the current fee amount and acceptable payment methods)
  • G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, if you prefer to pay by credit card

Application Review:

  • Review all information on the form for accuracy
  • Organize the documents in the order listed on the USCIS website or form instructions
  • Include a cover letter listing the contents of your application package


  • Place all completed forms, supporting documents, and payment in an envelope
  • Use a trackable mailing method
  • Double-check the correct mailing address on the USCIS website or form instructions

Record Keeping:

  • Make photocopies or digital scans of all documents before mailing
  • Keep a copy of the completed application for your records
  • Keep track of your case number and any USCIS correspondence

Remember that each case is unique, so there dataroma might be additional documents or steps required based on your specific situation. It’s a good idea to consult the most up-to-date USCIS instructions and guidelines for Form I-130 before submitting your application to ensure you’ve included everything needed for a successful submission.

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