December 20, 2016





Establishing qualifying relationships with spouses, children, sons/daughters/siblings



A U.S. citizen can file a petition for his or her foreign-born spouse and, under certain situations, the children of the spouse.

The U.S. citizen will have to establish the family relationship with the spouse by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. The U.S. citizen may also file a separate Form I-130 for a child of his or her foreign-born spouse if the child is unmarried and under 21 years old.

When the petition is submitted, the U.S. citizen petitioner is required to provide evidence to prove his/her relationship to the foreign-born relative.



To complete the process, you, as the U.S. citizen petitioner, must:

  • Complete the Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative. Review the Form I-130 instructions.

  • Submit the Filing Fee(s): Include the appropriate filing fee with the Form I-130. 

  • Submit Evidence: Include all supporting documentation.
    • Two completed and signed G-325A forms (one for yourself and one for your spouse),

    • A copy of your civil marriage certificate,

    • A copy of all divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that demonstrate that all previous marriages entered into by you and/or your spouse were terminated,

    • Passport-style photos of you and your spouse, and

    • Evidence of all legal name changes for you and/or your spouse (may include marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court judgment of name change, adoption decrees, etc.).

  • Sign and File the Form I-129: File the petition according to form instructions.

Documents to show you are a U.S. Citizen

If you were born in the United States, a copy of birth certificate, issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority.

  • A copy of your Naturalization certificate or Certificate of citizenship issued by USCIS or the former INS.

  • A copy of your unexpired U.S. passport card.

  • An original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying that you are a U.S citizen with a valid passport.



Once USCIS receives the Form I-130, we will process your petition and then you will receive:

  • A receipt notice confirming that USCIS received the petition.

Note: If the petition is incomplete, we may have to reject it, or ask you for more evidence or information, which will delay processing. Please send all required documents the first time to avoid delay.

  • A notice for a biometrics appointment date (if required)

  • A written notice of decision

If your Form I-130 is approved, you have established the legal relationship with your spouse, which is the first step in the immigration process. Your spouse may then apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status in the United States