The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses form I–130 to establish that a valid family relationship exists between an immigrant seeking a green card and the sponsoring US citizen or green card holder. This form is officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative.” Filing form I-130 is the first step in the family-based green card process.
Form I-130 processing time can vary significantly. Factors that will impact your processing time include (1) the type of relationship between the US citizen and yourself, (2) previous cases already filed with USCIS, and (3) whether your case is delayed by an improper filing.
If you are considered an immediate relative of a US citizen, then the I-130 form will be processed and there will be no waiting time for a visa to become available. An immediate relative is a spouse, parents, or unmarried child under age 21 of a US citizen. Depending on your situation you may want to consider filing the form I-130 with the forms for an adjustment of status. Otherwise, you will likely need to consider consular processing outside of the United States. In all instances, it is important to speak to a qualified immigration attorney that can advise you as to any grounds of inadmissibility or other potential pitfalls prior to filing your case.
If you are not an immediate relative but still have a qualifying relationship, then you will need to wait in line for a visa to become available. Under the immigration law there is an annual quota for visas within each category and every country also has a limit. USCIS processes the I-130 petition on a first-come-first-served basis. Your place in line is determined by your priority date which will likely be the date that USCIS receives your I 130 petition. You want to monitor your category and priority date on the visa bulletin published on the on the Department of State website.
There are many reasons to consider meeting with an immigration attorney including:
Please contact us at 855-554-6369 or by filling out the contact form should you have any questions.