What you need to know about Relative Immigrant Visa Petition

Do you have a foreign-citizen relative who you want to sponsor to live in the United States? U.S. Immigration laws allow foreign-citizen relatives of U.S. Citizens to emigrate to the United States by going through the Relative Immigrant Visa Process. Here’s what you need to know about the Relative Immigrant Visa Process:


Typically, the U.S. Government has a limited number of foreign U.S. citizen relatives to emigrate to the United States. U.S. Citizens can file an immigrant visa petition for their relatives, but only a limited number of petitions will be approved per year. For unmarried sons and daughters of U.S citizens (F1 category) with only a limit of 24,300 annually. For spouses, children (both minor and adult) of Lawful Permanent Residents of the U.S., a limit of 114,200 per year is approved. Usually, there is a waiting time for petitions classified under “F” to be approved, with some other petitioners waiting more than 5 years for a petition to be approved.

Foreign-citizen relatives of U.S. Citizens are classified as IR or Immediate Relative. There are several categories allowed for immigrant visa petitions, namely: IR-1 for the spouse of a U.S. Citizen, IR-2 for children of a U.S. Citizen, IR-3 for an orphan adopted by U.S. Citizens overseas, IR-4 for an orphan to be adopted upon arrival to the U.S. by a U.S. Citizen, and IR-5 for legal parents of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years of age.

Do you need legal help?

For several cases, the requirements overlap. For example, a Lawful Permanent Resident files an F2 petition for a minor. The Lawful Permanent Resident then receives a grant for U.S. citizenship before the minor’s 18th birthday. An immigration lawyer can help you figure out the best course of action so your petition is classified correctly, and all requirements are met. The same goes for Legal Permanent Residents who has lived outside the United States for more than a year, or after the re-entry period had expired and you have a pending petition. You would need an immigration to advise you with the best course of action to go through with the green card process.

Filing a Petition

To file a petition, you would need to fill out an I-130 form, complete with all the required supporting documents. A relative petition is not as complex as a fiancée visa petition, which requires proof of relationship. For filing a relative petition, you would only need to support three things: 1. That you and your beneficiary are immediate relatives, 2. That you are willing to sponsor your beneficiary with their residence in the United States and 3. That you are a U.S. Citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. However, procuring these documents are usually not as easy as it sounds. Some of your supporting documents would need to originate overseas, and some would need to be procured by your beneficiary. An immigrant visa petition typically lasts several years, mostly because of the processing time and the procurement of requirements.

The I-130 form requires you to prove your U.S. Citizenship or residence. Have your Proof of U.S. Citizenship photocopied. Have a valid birth certificate on hand as well. If you were born overseas, secure a copy of a valid birth certificate from your country of origin. If you are not yet a U.S. Citizen, have a copy of your Green Card included in the form. Make sure you have completed the green card process before petitioning for your relatives.

Here are some reminders for you to fill out your I-130 form correctly:

For both parties:

  1. Write in print. Your last name should be written in all capital letters, and your middle name needs to be completely written. If your native language uses a non-roman script like Hindu, Hebrew, or Tamil, you would need to fill out your name and address using that script. If you are filling out your I-130 form online, you can fill out the rest of the form online and just write your name and address on the appropriate fields after printing.
  2. When indicating your marital status, indicate your most recent marital status. If you have been recently divorced, you only need to select “Divorced” and not “Married.”
  3. 3. Do NOT staple. If you need to keep several pages in one group, you can use a paper clip.

For beneficiaries:

  1. Indicate in your immigrant visa petition if you already have an Alien Registration Number or A Number.
  2. If you have worked in the U.S. before with a work visa, indicate your Social Security Number.

For U.S. Citizens

  1. If you obtained your U.S. Citizenship through a naturalization process, you would need your certificate number. Your certificate number is found on the upper-right hand corner of your naturalization certificate.
  2. If you obtained your U.S. Citizenship through your parents, you can obtain a certificate of citizenship that would have a certificate number.
  3. If you are submitting other petitions at the same time, indicate the names of your other beneficiaries so it can be processed at the same time.

For Lawful Permanent Residents

  1. If you have completed your green card process through marriage, you cannot petition for a new spouse within 5 years after the marriage. These restrictions are lifted unless your spouse had died. Having a divorce within 5 years after the marriage would only qualify you to petition for a new spouse if there is sufficient proof that you had a real, bona-fide marriage. You may need to prove that your marriage was not a sham by providing sufficient documents such as insurance receipts, rent receipts, children’s birth certificates. There are many documents that can be considered to support a bona-fide marriage. It’s best to consult an immigration lawyer so you can get accurate advice based on your situation.
  2. If you have completed the green card process, but have not obtained a U.S. Citizenship yet, you would need to include your Alien Registration Number. Otherwise, mark the fields with N/A when asked for an Alien Registration Number.

The A Number

The alien registration number is an alpha-numeric identification number issued to foreign citizens residing lawfully in the United States. It is consisted of a series of characters starting with an “A” followed by 8-9 digits – thus the name “A Number”.- e.g. A12 345 678 or A123 456 789.

Do you need Legal Help?

The relative immigrant visa process is a pretty straightforward process. However, being restricted only for relatives, proof through documentation is mandatory. There are several factors that contribute to the eligibility and exemptions of the immigrant visa petition. For these cases, your best course of action would be to talk to an immigration lawyer to help you better understand how unique circumstances would fit in the system.

One of the most common cases that immigration lawyers handle is illegal immigration. If you have entered the United States immediately, and you are looking to make your stay legal, you may still be considered by the USCIS. However, such instances are not that common, and you may need an immigration lawyer to help you strengthen your case.

Legal assistance is not just for illegal immigration cases. For relative immigrant visa cases, one of the most common concerns is about eligibility. If you have problems or questions about your eligibility, it’s best to consult an immigration lawyer to help you go through the green card process.

For more information about Immigration, contact the Law Office of Spojmie Nasiri Immigration Legal Services at 925-520-5195. Se Habla Español, Llame al 888-597-3501.