How to File an Immigrant Petition?

Citizens of the U.S. and lawful permanent resident petitioners living in the U.S. may need to sponsor an immigrant petition to allow them to move to this country. An immigrant petition needs to be completed on your behalf by your employer, a relative, or sometimes by yourself.

For example, your future spouse must file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you can enter the country. When it’s time to file an immigrant petition, you can do it through the traditional postal service or electronically via the internet. 

pen and various documents including petition for alien relative spread out over american flag
A pen and various documents, including a Petition for Alien Relative, spread out over an American flag. Permanent residents and U.S. citizens can file this immigrant petition on behalf of their overseas relatives.

What Is an Immigrant Petition?

If you are seeking to come to the United States you will likely need to file an immigrant petition. This document allows you to ask or appeal to the U.S. government for permission to live in the country. 

Usually, another person files a petition on behalf of the immigrant. Additionally, separate petitions may have to be filed for every immigrating individual.

However, before you start filing your immigration petition, learn a little more about what they are, how they’re filed, and how long they take to file.

Immigration Petitions: Which One Do I Use?

There are two primary immigration petitions for the United States: 

  • Form I-130 for a family-based petition: Green card holders and immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and are required to complete Form I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative.
  • Form I-140 for an employment-based petition: Your employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker if you are petitioning to come into the country through your job.

Family-Based Immigration Petition

U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States can apply on your behalf by using Form I-130. The USCIS application processing fee for this form is $535.

Relatives that may be eligible for support from an immigration petition include:

  • Parents of U.S. citizens
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States
  • Children of U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States

Employment-Based Immigration Petition

There are multiple ways someone can immigrate through their place of employment. For example, U.S. employers can sponsor immigration for their employees using Form I-140. The USCIS application processing fee for this petition is $700.

Form I-140 is suitable for employees, including:

  • A researcher or professor internationally recognized as outstanding with a minimum of three years of researching or teaching in a specific academic area
  • A professional with a baccalaureate degree
  • An unskilled laborer that must perform a job in which workers are unavailable in the U.S.
  • A skilled worker with a minimum of two years’ experience or specialized training and must perform a job where U.S. workers are unavailable 
  • An alien that held a job for a minimum of one out of three years preceding the application date and is seeking to enter the U.S. to continue with the company as a manager or executive
  • A professional with an advanced degree or an individual with unique abilities in business, arts, or sciences that will likely benefit the welfare, economy, or cultural interests of the United States

Another popular way is to enter the U.S. on an H-1B program visa and then adjust status to permanent residence.

Filing Form I-140 Without an Employer

You may be able to file this immigration petition on your own behalf if you:

  • Possess extraordinary capabilities in education, arts, sciences, athletics, or business shown by sustained international or national acclaim, and others acknowledged your accomplishments in your field.
  • Hold an advanced degree in your field or have exceptional capabilities in business, arts, or sciences and are trying to get a job offer exemption by filing for a National Interest Waiver (NIW).

Government Questions Regarding Your Immigrant Petition

Filing an immigrant petition is relatively straightforward. For instance, the government asks questions about your sponsor (the person requesting permission for the immigrant to enter the U.S.) and will ask you why the government should allow you into the country.

  • Your answer regarding Form I-130: Your reasoning should stem from a valid familial relationship between you and your sponsor.
  • The answer as it pertains to Form I-140: An employer must establish that they have been sufficiently rigorous in their search for a qualified employee.

Once the petition is completed, you must mail it to the relevant USCIS Lockbox facility. Check the petition instructions to ensure you are sending your petition to the correct facility.

To receive a USCIS email or text response confirming your application was accepted, complete Form G-1145, Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance, and attach it to your petition packet.

File Your Immigrant Petition With FileRight

Besides helpful customer service, when you use FileRight to file your immigrant petition, you receive: 

  • Meticulous preparation services that include immediate error reporting to eliminate mistakes
  • An application assembly service
  • Select packages also include a lawyer review performed by a licensed, independent immigration attorney

Contact us today to learn why more than 50,000 people are happy they filed their immigration petitions with

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