I-130a: How To Bring Your Spouse to the U.S.
Are you currently filing a petition for a Green Card for your spouse? Do you need some advice on how to file the application on behalf of your spouse? What documents do you need? How much does it cost?
Filing a Form I-130A is a vital part of completing the Green Card application for your spouse. Below we take a look at what the Form !-130A is, why you need and how to file it.
What is Form I-130A?
You probably already know about Form I-130. It is a Petition for Alien Relative. It’s the application form supplied and required by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) whenever someone petitions for their immediate relative to become the beneficiary of a Green Card. The form is also sometimes referred to as the “Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary”.
The Form I-130A is an additional document required by the USCIS when you file a petition specifically for your spouse. The document serves to supply them with the additional information they need in the case of a spouse applying for a marriage-based Green Card. You are applying on behalf of your spouse and need to prove to the USCIS the details about your marriage and additional information on your spouse for example their residential and employment history of the past 5 years. You also have to include information about both your parents in this form.
Who is Eligible for Form I-130A?
You became a permanent resident of the U.S. the day you get your Green Card. This makes your spouse (an immediate relative) eligible to apply for a marriage-based Green Card. But you have to petition on his or her behalf which makes you the petitioner and them the beneficiary.
As part of the petition you need to file a Form I-130A. Anyone other than a spouse filing a Form I-130 won’t have to include the Form I-130A in their application. Your dependents under the age of 21 years do not have to file this form, for example. But if you are filing for your spouse, you will need this form.
Required Documents for Form I-130A
It is important that you provide the correct paperwork in your Green Card application to increase your chances of success. Below is a basic list of the documents and proof you need to provide with your application. Keep in mind, however, that every immigration case is different. The officer assigned to your case may eventually request additional information which you must provide if requested.
Here’s the basic list of required documents:
- Evidence of the petitioner’s U.S. residency status – Your Green Card, citizenship certificate, or naturalization certificate as issued by the USCIS.
- Identification of the beneficiary – A passport, ID, and/or a birth certificate.
- Evidence of the bona fide marriage – A marriage certificate, wedding album, wedding invites, and any other evidence of the relationship.
- Evidence of the termination of previous marriages – Divorce papers, if applicable.
- Proof of legal name change – If applicable.
- Two passport-style photographs – Of the beneficiary.
These are only the basic documents required for the Form I-130a. It is always a good idea to consult an immigration attorney for better advice on what you need to increase your chances of success.
How to Fill out an I-130A
So, how do you complete a Form I-130A? There are essentially seven parts to the form which we explain below.
Part 1 – Personal Information
This part requires the personal details of the beneficiary (your spouse) for whom the petition is filed. Make sure you have all your identification, immigration, and travel related documents close by to help complete this part.
Part 2 – Employment Related Information
The USCIS does not require your spouse to be employed at the time of the petition. They simply want this information to perform a background check on the beneficiary. Complete it as best possible, irrespective of whether your spouse is working, unemployed, or still studying.
Part 3 – Foreign Employment Related Information
This part only requires the information you haven’t yet submitted in earlier parts. Perhaps your spouse held employment in foreign countries that aren’t included in the form yet. Submit it here.
Part 4 – Spouse Beneficiary’s Certification and Signature
In this part, you agree that you understand the purpose of the form and certify that the information supplied on this I-130A is indeed true and valid. Many people who apply for Green Cards aren’t able to read and write in English. This part helps to prove that despite that obstacle they had an interpreter to help them understand and produce the information required by the form. Supply your mobile number or other ways which the USCIS can contact you electronically.
Part 5 – Interpreter’s Certification and Signature
If you made use of an interpreter, they need to certify their help in this part. They swear by this signature they have read every question to you and that you understood everything. Also that you understood the information required by the form.
Part 6 – Declaration and Signature of Someone Other than the Spouse Beneficiary Preparing the Form
It’s possible that someone other than the beneficiary spouse completes this form. People often hire a lawyer, paralegal, or another type of document preparer to complete the form on their behalf. That person needs to complete this section.
Part 7 – Additional Information
Some people need more space on their I-130A forms. This part supplies the additional space in case you run out of it in any of the previous sections. Add your name to Questions 1-3 if you made use of this page.
The Form I-130A in itself has no cost involved. But the basic filing fee required for the overall petition for an alien relative remains. You’ll have to pay the required filing fee as set out by the USCIS for your specific type of petition.
The cost of your marriage-based Green Card application depends on your situation. People filing from abroad typically pay $1,400 for the filing of their petition. Someone filing from within the U.S. generally pays $1,960 for their filing.
If this seems like a steep amount to dish out don’t worry. You can always take out a loan to cover the cost of filing your Form I-130A. You don’t have to worry about the fact that your spouse is a foreigner if you need to make us of a loan. There are lenders who tailor make their deals especially for situations like yours.
I-130A Processing Time
The Form I-130A won’t necessarily extend the processing time of your petition. In fact, the additional information supplied might decrease the processing time. Typically, these petitions take between 10-38 months. Be aware though, your situation is unique and it might take longer to convince the USCIS of your case.
How and Where to Submit Form I-130A?
You will either be filing from within the U.S. or abroad. The address to which you send your application package depends on where you file from. The USCIS offers a chart detailing the addresses for every type of situation. Send your application package as soon as you have completed it.
Now you know what the Form I-130A is and also why it is required in your petition for an alien relative. The USCIS requires every marriage-based petition for an alien relative to include a Form I-130A in the application package. The additional information about the beneficiary spouse helps to complete the process. Add it to your Form I-130 petition for your spouse and submit it as soon as you can!