How to Petition for Your Relative for a Green Card I-130 or Petition for Alien Relative



What is I-130 and what is it used for?


A United States citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States may file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This filing is to establish the existence of a relationship with a certain non-citizen or immigrant relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States. The requisite relationship for an I-130 are spouses, parents, children, and siblings of U.S. citizens as well as spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents.


If the intending immigrant is in the United States and has no inadmissibility issues, they can also file a Form I-485 package in a one-step-petition. This is called adjustment of status. If the intending immigrant lives abroad, then the I-130 must be approved before USCIS transfers the case to the National Visa Center to begin the consular process. Below are a few tips on what documents to submit to establish the familial relationship required for Form I-130. The list below is not exhaustive as what needs to be submitted would depend on the facts of each matter.


The steps to file for an I-130 petition vary depending on if you are filing for a spouse, parents, siblings children, step-parents, and step-children.


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a spouse


Generally, the United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse should submit


  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident.

  • Proof that a legally valid relationship exists (for example, a marriage certificate and divorce decrees for prior marriages of both parties)

  • Proof of a bona fide marriage

  • Proof of name changes for the United States sponsor and/or the person seeking a green card

  • Proof of nationality of the person seeking a green card (passport)


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a parent(s)

The United States citizen's son or daughter must be 21 years and over to be able to file for a parent. Only a United States citizen can file for a parent.


Supporting documents to the Form I-130 may include;

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen

  • Parent(s) birth certificate

  • Birth Certificate of U.S. citizen child

  • Foreign passport of parent (s)


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a step-parent

U.S. immigration law recognizes a parent/child relationship between a stepchild and a stepparent. The United States citizen's stepson or stepdaughter must be at least twenty-one years of age.


Supporting documents may include;

  • Proof that the United States sponsor is a U.S. citizen

  • Step parent's birth certificate

  • Foreign passport of stepparents

  • Parent/step-parent marriage certificate (proof that the marriage occurred before the United States citizen turned 18.)

  • If parents are divorced, U.S. citizen must show that the relationship with the step-parent continued after the divorce and until the time of filing.


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a child

The United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident can file for their child (under the age of 21) or their sons/ daughter (twenty-one years of age and over)


Supporting documents with the Form I-130 may include;

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident

  • Birth certificate of child or son/daughter

  • Foreign passport of child or son/daughter

  • Parent’s marriage certificate, if applicable


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a step-child(ren)

You are not required to adopt your step-child to file for them. U.S. Immigration laws recognize a parent/child relationship between a step-child and a step-parent. The United States citizen step-parent must show that the relationship between step-parent and step-child was formed before the step-child was 18 years of age. If the biological parent and step-parent are divorced, there must be evidence that the step-relationship continued after the divorce to the time of filing.


Supporting documents with the Form I-130 may include;

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident

  • Parent(s) birth certificate

  • Foreign passport of the child

  • Parents marriage certificate

  • Proof of relationship of bona fide relationship between parent and step-parent and child.


Steps to file an I-130 petition for a sibling

Only U.S. citizens can file for a sibling. It is important to show evidence of the sibling relationship.


Supporting documents for a sibling may include;

  • Proof that the sponsor is a U.S. citizen. Only U.S. citizens can file for a sibling.

  • Siblings birth certificate

  • Birth Certificate of U.S. sibling showing the relationship

  • Foreign passport of sibling


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How to Petition for Your Relative for a Green Card I-130




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If you need an employment visa, wish to immigrate, or want to help bring a family member to the United States, the Odunlami Law Firm can help. If you are facing deportation or removal for any reason, you need our help. You may contact the law office for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Areas of Immigration Law:

  • Naturalization (Citizenship) Application

  • Immigrant Relative Petitions

  • Fiancé Visa Applications

  • Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing

  • Criminal Consequences and Deportation Defense

  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Application

  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

  • Green Card Renewals

  • Temporary Work Visas

  • Temporary Protected Status

  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

  • Waivers