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What is an I130 Approval, and What Does it Do?

Many people believe that submitting a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and receiving an approval grants the Beneficiary some form of legal status and provides immigration protection. This is an incorrect assumption, and often the result of not knowing the purpose and function of the Form I-130.

The purpose of Form I-130 is to request that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acknowledge and confirm a Petitioner’s relationship to a Beneficiary.

The “Petitioner” is any U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) who is submitting an application to request a foreign national be allowed to enter the U.S.; the “Beneficiary” is the foreign national who is being sponsored by a relative or a business (or has self-petitioned for an immigration benefit) and seeking residency in the U.S.

Whether a U.S. citizen or LPR can file an I-130 petition on behalf of a family member will depend on the familial relationship and the immigration status of the petitioner.

U.S. citizens are allowed to file I-130 applications on behalf of a larger category of relatives than lawful permanent residents.

U.S. citizens can file an immigrant petition for parents, married and unmarried children -of any age, spouses, and siblings. U.S. citizens can also petition for fiancés to enter the U.S. on a fiancé visa for the purpose of marrying them within 90 days of entry. While, lawful permanent residents are only allowed to sponsor spouses, and unmarried children of any age.

When a petitioner files an I130 petition on behalf of a foreign family member, the petitioner is asking USCIS to confirm that the relationship between the Petitioner and Beneficiary is valid based on the documentation provided (required documentation will vary depending on how the Petitioner and Beneficiary are related).

The approval of Form I-130 is USCIS’s acknowledgement that the relationship between the Petitioner and Beneficiary has been verified and is genuine, but does not grant any immigration benefit for the Beneficiary. An approved I-130 alone does not grant protection against deportation.

Once a Form I-130 is approved, the Petitioner and Beneficiary can move forward in petitioning for the Beneficiary’s permanent residence in the U.S. The petition for permanent residence can be completed while the Beneficiary is residing in their home country—through Consular Processing—or while the Beneficiary is in the U.S.—through Adjustment of Status. Completing the Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status process and being granted an approval is what grants Permanent Resident status and immigration protections.

The U.S. immigration system is complex. There are many forms, terms, and pathways to navigate on the journey to immigration relief, and while many individuals navigate this journey alone, it is always a benefit to have a qualified Immigration Attorney as a resource. Even a single consult can offer important advice to help you avoid common pitfalls in the process. We always recommend you consult with a qualified Immigration Attorney prior to submitting immigration paperwork on your own.

If you have an immigration matter to pursue, we encourage you to contact us and speak with Attorney Peterkin regarding the immigration relief you are seeking. A one-hour Case Evaluation may be able to save you months or years of unnecessary headache along your immigration journey.

Call us at 321-325-1125, text us at 321-204-7718, or use our online contact form to begin scheduling your Case Evaluation with Attorney Peterkin.

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