Petition for a Relative


What is the process for petitioning for a relative?

Immediate Relative
  1. The US Citizen (immediate relative) must file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for you and it must be either pending or approved.
  2. If more information is needed, then a Request for Evidence will be sent.
  3. Receive the Notice of Action (Form I-797) confirming that the Form I-130 has been received by the USCIS or approved.
  4. Then the relative applicant may file Form I-485.
  5. The applicant will need to include the copy of the Form I-130 receipt or approval notice with your I-485 application package.

Family Member
  1. The US Citizen (family member sponsor) must file the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative for you and it must be either pending or approved.
  2. The foreigner must wait until the appropriate visa number is available before proceeding to get an immigrant visa from the consulate in the home country of residence, or if in the US already, before the submitting application to adjust status to be a permanent resident.
  3. Once the priority date in your visa category is current, you may file the Adjustment of Status with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
  4. The visa and submission of Form I-485 allow the applicant to go through the process to become a Permanent Resident.

Am I eligible to petition?

If you are a US Citizen then you are eligible to petition for the following:

  • Your Spouse (Husband, Wife)
  • Your Minor Children
  • Your Step-children in some circumstances
  • Your brother and sisters
  • Your adult children, married or unmarried

If you are a lawful Permanent Resident then you are eligible to petition for the following:

  • Your Spouse (Husband, Wife)
  • Your Unmarried Minor Children
  • Your Step-children in some circumstances

How long does this process take?

The process varies depending on the petitioner and the beneficiary relationship. For immediate relatives which have special immigration priority and do not need to wait for a visa number to become available, then the process is shorter and may only take approximately 5 to 9 months from the time you submit the petition to the USCIS.

For other relations, the process may take longer. Again it depends on the local USCIS office and their processing time but expect the wait to be between 5 months to 4 years.

Once the petition is approved, then the applicant must wait for a visa number before traveling to the US. There are many factors that affect the time until a visa number is available including the closeness of the relationship and the originating country for the beneficiary. It may mean a wait of 2 to 20 years.

What is the purpose of an I-130?

This form is used by a US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident to establish the relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the US. A separate form must be filed for each eligible relative. USCIS processes the Form I-130 as a visa number becomes available.

Can I petition for a relative’s family members?

No, you can only petition for individuals that are directly related to you.