DIY an I-130 Family Petition: Building the Foundation for Family-Based Immigration

filing an I-130 marriage petition is the crucial first step in the family-based immigration process

If you’re a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident (green card holder) who wants to help your foreign relatives immigrate to the United States, filing an I-130 petition is the crucial first step in the family-based immigration process. The I-130, officially known as the “Petition for Alien Relative,” establishes the underlying relationship between you and your qualified relative. While this process can seem daunting, it’s possible to navigate it successfully on your own with careful preparation and attention to detail. Remember, this article does not constitute legal advice, and it’s essential to consult with an immigration attorney or check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date information before proceeding.

Understanding the I-130 Petition

The I-130 petition establishes the qualifying familial relationship between a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and their foreign relative. Once approved, it doesn’t grant your relative immediate legal status or a green card, but it is the foundation upon which further immigration steps are built. Here’s a step-by-step guide to filing an I-130 marriage petition yourself:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Before you begin, make sure you are eligible to sponsor your relative. As a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your spouse without numerical limitations. If you’re a permanent resident, there may be visa category limitations. Check USCIS guidelines for the most current eligibility criteria.
  2. Gather Required Documents:
    • A completed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative).
    • A copy of your U.S. birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or U.S. passport to prove your citizenship or permanent resident status.
    • A copy of your marriage certificate.
    • A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment records from previous marriages for both you and your spouse.
    • Proof of a bona fide marriage, such as joint bank account statements, photographs, or affidavits from friends and family.
    • Passport-sized photos of you and your spouse.
  3. Pay the Filing Fee: As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, the filing fee for Form I-130 was $535. However, USCIS fees can change, so verify the current fee on the USCIS website.
  4. Complete the I-130 Form: Follow the instructions on the USCIS website to complete the I-130 form accurately. Make sure to include all necessary supporting documents.
  5. Mail Your Petition: Send your completed I-130 form, along with the required documents and the filing fee, to the appropriate USCIS address. Be sure to use a trackable mailing method to ensure safe delivery.
  6. Await USCIS Processing: USCIS will review your petition and may request additional evidence or documentation. Be prepared to respond promptly to any USCIS requests.
  7. Receive USCIS Notice of Decision: If your I-130 petition is approved, you’ll receive an Approval Notice. This confirms the establishment of the qualifying relationship between you and your spouse.
  8. Further Processing: Once the I-130 is approved, your relative may proceed with the next steps in the immigration process, such as applying for an immigrant visa or adjusting their status if they are already in the U.S.


Filing an I-130 marriage petition is the crucial first step in helping your foreign relative obtain legal immigration status in the United States. While it is possible to navigate this process on your own, it’s important to stay informed about the latest USCIS guidelines and procedures, as they may change over time. If you encounter difficulties or have questions during the process, consulting with an immigration attorney is a wise decision. Remember, the I-130 petition is just the beginning of the family-based immigration journey, and there are more steps ahead before your spouse can obtain a green card and permanent residency in the U.S.

USCIS Implements New Interpreter Policy – Form G-1256 Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview Must be Signed

USCIS Policy Memorandum: The Role and Use of Interpreters in Domestic Field Office Interviews, will be implemented starting May 1, 2017.

USCIS is introducing a “Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview” form (Form G-1256). The “Declaration for Interpreted USCIS Interview” informs the interviewee about the importance of using a competent interpreter, and includes an attestation that all parties understand the guidelines that apply to interpretation, including that the interpreter must accurately, literally, and fully interpret for both the interviewee and the interviewer/officer. USCIS requires that the interpreter provide consecutive interpretation to ensure that the interpretation is as close to verbatim as possible.

Form G-1256 must be signed by both the interviewee and the interpreter at the beginning of the interview. The Declaration form reminds the interviewee that the use of an interpreter may expose the interpreter to the confidential information discussed at the time of the interview. It also requires the interpreter to agree to not disclose or share any of the information discussed or learned as a result of serving as the interpreter during the interview.

Attorneys may not serve in their roles as an attorney, accredited representative, or associated representative for the party to the case while simultaneously serving as an interpreter for the interviewee. Further, witnesses are restricted from serving as interpreters, unless the officer determines that there is an exception for good cause.

USCIS Report on 2015 H-1B Workers Shows Increased Number in Filing But Decreased Rate of Approval

In fiscal year 2015 (Oct 1, 2014 – Sept 31, 2015), USCIS received 348,699 H-1B petitions, a combination of initial employment, concurrent employment, requests for extension, and amended petitions. Among them, 39% were for initial employment. FY 2015 represents a 9% increase in filing form 2014. However, USCIS approved 275, 317 of all the petitions, a 13% decrease from the previous year.

USCIS also reported that 71% of all H-1B Beneficiaries (a total of 195,347) were India nationals, and the workers from the People’s Republic of China represent the second biggest group – 10% (a total of 26,669) of all beneficiaries. Workers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees made up 45% and 44% of all H-1B beneficiaries respectively. The majority of them were employed in computer-related areas with a median salary of $79,000 a year.

Read the full report here: 17022809

“Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy” or the “BRIDGE Act” Introduces Provisional Protected Presence

Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy

We have seen a lot of legislations and executive orders being introduced in the past few weeks that are not so immigrant-friendly. Non-U.S. citizen are particularly worried about their future in this country. Among the concerned and confused are the 750,000 participants of the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

On January 12, 2017, the Senate and the House of Representatives separately introduced a bill called “Bar Removal of Immigrants Who Dream and Grow the Economy” or the “BRIDGE Act” [S. 128] (17021434) and [H.R. 496] (17021433). The BRIDGE Act authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant provisional protected presence for three (3) years. Provisional protected presence is granted if the alien—

(1) was born after June 15, 1981;

(2) entered the United States before attaining 16 years of age;

(3) continuously resided in the United States between June 15, 2007, and the date on which the alien files an application under this section;

(4) was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and on the date on which the alien files an application under this section;

(5) was unlawfully present in the United States on June 15, 2012;

(6) on the date on which the alien files an application for provisional protected presence—

  • (A) is enrolled in school or in an education program assisting students in obtaining a regular high school diploma or its recognized equivalent under State law, or in passing a general educational development exam or other State-authorized exam;
  • (B) has graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school;
  • (C) has obtained a general educational development certificate; or
  • (D) is an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

(7) has not been convicted of—

  • (A) a felony;
  • (B) a significant misdemeanor; or
  • (C) three or more misdemeanors not occurring on the same date and not arising out of the same act, omission, or scheme of misconduct; and

(8) does not otherwise pose a threat to national security or a threat to public safety.

Provisional protected presence looks extremely similar to DACA (except for a few word changes). A person qualifies for DACA is he or she:

(1) Was under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

(2) Came to the United States before reaching 16th birthday;

(3) Has continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

(4) Was physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

(5) Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012;

(6) Is currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and;

(7) Has not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

If granted Provisional protected presence, the alien is not considered to be unlawfully present in the United States.

USCIS Workload Transfer and Filing Location Changes

A portion of the Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, filed by applicants with pending asylum applications went from the Nebraska Service Center and the Texas Service Center to the Potomac Service Center. It should not affect the processing time.

In addition, starting January 19, 2017, you must file your Form I-140 and Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, at the addresses listed below.

The beneficiary will work in…

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) First- Class and Priority Mail Express deliveries

For overnight/courier deliveries (non-USPS)USPS

Maryland, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania

Premium Processing
USCIS Texas Service Center P.O. Box 279030
Dallas, TX 75227-9030

Premium Processing
USCIS Texas Service Center 4141 N Saint Augustine Dr. Dallas, TX 75227-4818


Premium Processing
USCIS Nebraska Service Center P.O. Box 87103
Lincoln, NE 68501-7103

Premium Processing USCIS Nebraska Service Center
850 S. Street
Lincoln, NE 68508

USCIS Releases New Form Versions, Effective Immediately

On December 23, 2016, USCIS posted many new form versions without any prior notice. Affected forms include the following: I-90, I-102, I-129, I-129CW, I-129F, I-130, I-131, I-131A, I-140, I-191, I-192, I-212, I-290B, I-360, I-485, I-485 Supplement A, I-525, I-539, I-600, I-600A, I-601, I-601A, I-612, I-690, I-694, I-698, I-751, I-765, I-800, I-800A, I-817, I-824, I-910, I-924, I-924A, I-929, I-942, I-942P, N-300, N-336, N-400, N-470, N-600, and N-600K. The forms all have an effective date of December 23, 2016.

In addition, applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fees.



移民上诉委员会认为自雇也是“就业”。因此,经营业务是违反非移民类签证的身份,比如是旅游签证,学生签证等等。另外来说,如果在在美国在外国公司工作,也是不允许的 – 任何在美国完成的工作,即使对于外国公司,即使支付给外国银行账户,仍然在美国被视为“就业”,必须要有授业文件。这样来说的话,在美国境内的微商微店都可能触犯非法就业。


未经授权的雇佣:1)可能违反了非移民签证身份; 2)可能导致逮捕,并可能从美国递解出境; 3)将导致拒绝延长或改变签证; 4)可能在几年后发现签证申请人犯有签证欺诈行为,从而无法转变绿卡; 5)如果加上在I-9表格上对美国公民身份作假,可以导致永久不可受理公民申请递解出境,没有豁免可用。


H-1B季节即将到来!雇主应立即开始识别目前和未来的员工以及需要赞助新的H -1B请愿书.

H-1B季节即将到来!美国公民和移民服务(“USCIS”)将于2017年4月1日,星期六, 开始接受新的H-1B申请。因此,雇主应立即开始识别目前和未来的员工以及需要赞助新的H -1B请愿书。我们事务所敦促雇主在2018财年的最早日期向USCIS提交H-1B申请。USCIS向“专业职业”服务的外国工人签发H-1B签证。专业职业需要理论和实际应用一组高度专业化的知识,由工人在至少相当于本领域的学士学位。




USCIS Announced New Fee Schedule for Immigration Benefit Applications and Petitions 移民福利申请和请愿的新费用表

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is mostly funded by the fees, and it announced a final rule, 81 FR 73292, adjusting the fees for immigration applications by a “weighted average of 21 percent increase.” The new fees will be effective Dec. 23, 2016. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.

美国公民和移民服务(USCIS)宣布了最终规则,81 FR 73292,调整移民申请的费用。新费用平均增长21%. 新费用将于十二月23号生效,2016年12月23日或之后邮戳或申请的申请和申请必须包括新费用或USCIS将不能接受。

For example, fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, will increase of $45, from $595 to $640. Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship, and N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate, will have increased fees of $1,170 from $550 or $600. A new fee of $3,035 is required for Form I-924A, Annual Certification of Regional Center.

例如,N-400表格申请入籍的费用将从$595增加到$640,增加$45。 N-600表格,公民资格证书及N-600K申请公民资格及发出证明书,将由$550元或$600元增加到$1,170元的费用。 I-924A表,区域中心年度认证需要新的费用$ 3,035。

USCIS new fee schedule

USCIS new fee schedule

View PDF here: 2016-25328

Termination of U.S. Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) Regional Centers 美国移民投资者计划(EB-5)区域中心的终止

The Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) is not a new concept. It is designed to promote immigration and help create jobs. Business owners apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to become EB-5 “regional centers” to attract foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in the United States. Generally speaking, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million, and the minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.

Investors should keep in mind that regional center designation does not mean an endorsement from any U.S. government agencies regarding its profitability or business viability. It is known that EB-5 programs are prone to abuse, and USCIS has long been aware of investment fraud targeting foreign investment money. (read more here) USCIS terminates regional centers regularly, and a terminated regional center may not solicit investment. To view the list of the 62 terminated regional centers as of August 31, 2016, click here.


投资者应该记住,区域中心的指定并不意味着任何美国政府机构对其盈利能力或业务可行性的认可。已知EB-5计划容易被滥用,USCIS长期以来一直意识到针对外国投资资金的投资欺诈。 (更多在这里)美国公民及移民服务中心定期终止区域中心,一个终止的区域中心可能不会招揽投资。要查看截至2016年8月31日的62个已终止区域中心的名单,请点击这里