New York Lawyer's Legal Updates

Tips For A Successful I-130

Author: Green Card Attorney Alena Shautsova

Filling out the form for an I-130 can be simple, fill in the blanks with the appropriate information and your done right? Not quite, a major mistake people make is differentiating between petitioner and applicant. The Petitioner will be the US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident; the Applicant will be the family member seeking lawful US status. First and most importantly, a check made payable to USCIS for $420 must be attached with the form.

After you get the I-130 form out of the way, supporting documents must be added to the submission along with a few other USCIS forms.

In marriage based applications the petitioner must also follow these steps:

  • A G-325A must be filled out for both the Applicant and Petitioner.
  • 2 Passport photos for both the Applicant and Petitioner should be attached to each of their G-325A forms.

Now you will need to add the supporting documents.

For an I-130 parent’s petition for child, or child’s petition for parent the following documents;

  • A Copy of the petitioners birth certificate and proof of US Citizenship
  • A Copy of the applicant’s proof of citizenship/ Asylee status.

No other documents are necessary for a successful I-130 petition in these cases, however it is always recommended that you add to the documents letters of good moral character and proof that the applicant does not have any criminal history. You can easily obtain the criminal history or lack thereof by going to the FBI website or scheduling an appointment with a field office registered with the FBI. If criminal history exists consult with an attorney, in most cases crimes of moral turpitude will bar you from US Legal status, however there is always exceptions to this.

For an I-130 spouse petition it is extremely important to develop a strong paper record establishing a bona fide marriage. Before the documents to establish your legitimate marriage you will need to prepare the following.

  • A copy of your marriage certificate.
  • Birth Certificate and proof of US citizenship for the petitioner.
  • Birth Certificate of the applicant and proof of citizenship/status.

When establishing a bona fide marriage remember that not all the documents will pertain to you personally, nevertheless you will still have to provide “sufficient” evidence that your marriage is real. The more documents you can provide the better.

  1. Documents with both husband and wife’s names i.e.
    1. Bank accounts
    2. Jointly owned property
    3. Automobile titles
    4. Insurance policies, Life/Health/Accident/Home/Auto
  2. Proof that you both live at the same address (extraordinary circumstances sometimes prevent this, if this is the case it is highly recommended to consult an attorney)
  3. Pictures of you and your spouse, the more the better.

If you want to be on the safe side, you can also add to these documents affidavits from friends and family, proof of volunteering in the community, receipts for gifts for each other, and if possible texts/emails phone call logs of your first encounter with each other (this is usually one of the first set of questions the officer will ask you about at your interview).

If done correctly the next step will be the infamous “ Immigration Interview.” Please see: US green card Immigration Interview

We will post shortly an update on How to Prepare for your Immigration Interview.

04 December 2013
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