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I - 130 | Petition for Relative

The purpose of Form I-130 is to prove that a valid family relationship exists between a U.S. citizen or green card holder and a person seeking a green card. This form is often simply referred to as the “I-130 petition.” Filing the I-130 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the first step in the family-based green card process.

In the context of a marriage visa or spousal visa, the I130 is filed to prove that your marriage is legally valid (based on a marriage certificate). This is also the time during the marriage-based green card process in which you submit documents (for example, joint bank account statements, joint insurance documents, and photos together) to prove that your marriage is “authentic” — that is, it isn’t based on fraud.

Filing the I-130 petition also establishes your place in line for an available green card. Unless you’re the spouse, parent, or unmarried child (under age 21) of a U.S. citizen (who gets to skip the line entirely), your place in line is determined by your “priority date,” which is the date that USCIS received your I-130 petition. Typically, petitions are processed in the order they are filed. Check out the Visa Bulletin to learn more about the current wait times for specific green card categories.


Form I-130 Processing Times

The time it takes for your I-130 petition to be approved in 2023 depends on the family relationship and where you apply from.

How long does the I-130 petition process take?

Right now, for immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, e.g., spouse, unmarried child under age 21, or parent living abroad, the wait time for Form I-130 averages 13.75–15.75 months. For those living in the U.S., the processing time is currently 12.5–22.5.

For immediate relatives (spouse or unmarried child) of a U.S. green card holder (legal permanent resident) living abroad, the time to process Form I-130 currently varies between 24.5–32.5 months. For those living in the U.S., the processing time is currently 12.5–22.5 months.

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