Calculating the Price of Keeping Families Close: I-130 Form Petition Costs

What is the cost to petition a family member by filing Form I-130?

The cost to petition a relative by filing Form I-130 varies depending on the specific relationship between the petitioner (U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) and the beneficiary (the family member being sponsored). Please note that USCIS fees can change over time, so it’s important to check the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information. As of my last update, here are the typical fees associated with filing Form I-130:

  • Form I-130 Filing Fee: The filing fee for Form I-130 was $535.
  • Biometric Services Fee (if applicable): Depending on the beneficiary’s age and circumstances, biometric services may be required, which could add an additional fee.

Please remember that these fees are subject to change, and there might be additional fees or costs associated with the immigration process, such as those related to visa processing, medical exams, translations, and legal assistance.

To get the most accurate and current fee information, I recommend visiting the official USCIS website or contacting an immigration attorney who can provide you with the latest details about the costs involved in petitioning a family member using Form I-130.

How long does it take to get Form I-130 approved?

The processing time for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, can vary widely depending on factors such as the USCIS service center handling the petition, the type of relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary, the volume of petitions being processed, and potential administrative changes. Below is some general information about processing times, but please be aware that these times can change over time.

At the time of my last update, USCIS provided estimated processing times on their website, which could give you an idea of how long it might take for the I-130 to be approved. The processing times were typically given in terms of a range of months. However, these estimates were subject to change based on the factors mentioned earlier.

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on processing times, I recommend visiting the official USCIS website and specifically checking the page that provides current processing times for Form I-130. You can use the USCIS “Check Case Processing Times” tool to find the most recent estimates based on the specific USCIS service center that is processing your petition.

It’s important to note that processing times can vary, and some cases may experience delays due to factors beyond your control. If you believe that your petition is taking longer than expected, you can also consider reaching out to USCIS for more information or seeking legal advice if needed.

Form I-130 is Approved – What to Do Next?

Once your Form I-130 is approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the next steps will depend on the specific circumstances and the beneficiary’s immigration category. Here’s a general overview of what to do next:

  • Wait for USCIS Approval Notice: After USCIS approves Form I-130, they will send you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating the approval. This notice will include information about the next steps and may include instructions for the beneficiary as well.
  • Processing with the National Visa Center (NVC): If the beneficiary is outside the United States and applying for an immigrant visa, the approved Form I-130 will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will provide further instructions, collect fees, and process the case before it’s sent to the U.S. consulate or embassy in the beneficiary’s home country.
  • Choice of Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status: If the beneficiary is already in the United States and eligible to adjust their status to permanent residency, you can choose to proceed with the Adjustment of Status process. This involves filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with other supporting documents and fees.
  • Document Gathering: Regardless of whether the beneficiary is applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy or adjusting their status in the U.S., there will be a need to gather various documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, medical exams, and financial documents. The exact requirements can vary based on the beneficiary’s relationship and situation.
  • Affidavit of Support (Form I-864): As the petitioner, you may need to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support the beneficiary and prevent them from becoming a public charge.
  • Attend Visa Interview (if applicable): If the beneficiary is applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy, they will be required to attend a visa interview. The interview is an opportunity for the consular officer to verify information and determine the beneficiary’s eligibility for the visa.
  • Adjustment of Status Interview (if applicable): If the beneficiary is adjusting their status in the U.S., they may be required to attend an interview with USCIS. The interview allows USCIS to verify information, ask questions about the beneficiary’s eligibility, and review the submitted documents.
  • Receive Immigrant Visa or Green Card: If the beneficiary’s immigrant visa is approved or if their adjustment of status application is approved, they will receive an immigrant visa or a green card, depending on their situation. The green card grants them lawful permanent residency in the United States.

It’s important to note that the process can be complex and may have variations based on factors such as the petitioner’s status, the beneficiary’s relationship, and the beneficiary’s location. It’s recommended to consult the USCIS website, review the instructions provided by USCIS or the NVC, and consider seeking legal assistance to navigate the process successfully.


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