What to Expect After Filing Form I-130 Petition

It’s tricky enough figuring out which immigration application to use and answer complicated questions to complete it. But what happens next? What should you expect after you file? With our automated software and informative blog posts, FileRight.com is here to help you at each step along the way.

When you submit paperwork to help your relative obtain legal status in the United States, it is processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Numerous factors can affect the processing time, but the steps are relatively consistent. Here’s the breakdown of what you can expect after filing your Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative

double exposure of family holding hands and american flag
Double exposure of a family holding hands and an American flag. Filing Form 1-130 on behalf of a relative can help keep your family together in the U.S. Learn more about what happens after submitting your petition.

I-130 Receipt Notice

Within two to three weeks after you file, the USCIS will send you written notification that they have received your I-130 petition. In addition, a Form I-797C, Notice of Action, will arrive in the mail, providing you with a receipt number you can use online to check your case status.

Your receipt notice may also include:

  • A rejection notice: If your petition is incomplete, the USCIS may reject your application. It’s important to note that a rejection is not the same as a denial, and you will have the opportunity to fix your errors. However, this will delay the progress of your petition.
  • A request for evidence: The USCIS may require additional proof that what you’ve stated on your application is the truth. They could ask you to send supporting documentation to back up your claims. Again, this will delay processing, so make every effort to attach all relevant documents to your initial application. 

Throughout the process, the USCIS will communicate with you by mail using additional I-797C forms. Anytime you receive a new notice from the USCIS, read and follow its instructions as soon as possible to avoid delays.

I-130 Notice of Biometric Services Appointment

The next step during your I-130 petition processing is a biometric services appointment. Here, a USCIS agent will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. Biometrics allows the USCIS to confirm your identity and run essential background and security checks.

Your notification about this appointment will again be on Form I-797C, Notice of Action, and it will include:

  • The date and time of your scheduled appointment
  • The address of the local USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) where your biometrics evaluation will take place
  • Instructions on what you should bring with you, such as your appointment notice and a valid, government-issued photo identification

I-130 Interview Notice

In some cases, you may receive a notice for an interview, which will also arrive on an I-797C document. The notification will include the interview date, time, and location. It will also inform you on what to bring, including any original documents that the USCIS may wish to review in person.

Generally, USCIS interviews are scheduled so that agents can review your application, ask you questions, and verify that the information you submitted is accurate and true. In the case of Form I-130, the USCIS may specifically be verifying the validity of your family relationship. 

I-130 Written Notice of Decision

Finally, you will receive another I-797C notice with the decision made on your I-130 application. If your application was approved, your relative may apply for a Green Card or, if they live outside the U.S., an immigrant visa.

If USCIS denies your petition, this is not necessarily the end of the process. You can continue working to establish the validity of your relationship by:

  • Appealing the decision: The USCIS may deny a petition on behalf of a spouse if they believe your marriage is fraudulent. This would block your spouse from getting a family-based green card in the future. In this circumstance, you should contest the decision with the Board of Immigration Appeals to remove the accusation from the record.
  • Filing a new petition: If the denial is based on a lack of evidence, you have the option to start the process again, provided you can offer further proof of your relationship.

How Long Does the I-130 Process Take?

The time it takes for USCIS to process an I-130 petition varies substantially from one case to the next. Current processing times range from approximately three months to more than 11 years due to variations including:

  • The current USCIS caseload: The time frame for your decision will be longer if there are many applications ahead of yours at the field office where you apply.
  • Relationship type: Petitions for a spouse, minor child, or parent are typically processed faster than those on behalf of a son or daughter over age 21.
  • Petitioner status: If you are a green card holder, your I-130 could take longer to process than if you were a U.S. citizen.
  • The accuracy of your petition: Inaccurate or incomplete applications will be delayed while the USCIS works to gather the information they need to reach a decision.

File Your Form I-130 Right the First Time

There is nothing more frustrating than filing immigration forms only to have your petition delayed by mistakes and omissions. To ensure the smoothest possible processing for your Form I-130, use FileRight.com to help prepare your application.

Our automated software streamlines your application experience from start to finish. It even checks your paperwork for errors, saving you time by fixing any mistakes before your USCIS submission is finalized. Plus, we guarantee success or your money back! So, take our qualification quiz to get started today.

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