The filing of your I-130 Form is incredibly important if one petitioning for a loved one or family member to eventually adjust their status or apply for a green card in the United States. This is also known as the “Alien Petition” form and is filed by a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident on behalf of the immigrant in question. Sometimes there is a common misconception that the I-130 is filed by the immigrant themselves, but this wouldn’t be possible because you can not petition an alien petition for yourself if you do not have a legal status yet.
Individuals who are on temporary work visas, or student visas, or are DACA recipients may be eligible to have their I-130 Forms filed. In this process, they will reach out to their petitioner and have them complete the Form, of which a PDF version can be found on the USCIS website, here: https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms.
In most cases, a U.S. citizen will be able to fill out the form and go through the process with their family member/loved one and have to wait for responses in the mail. However, there are circumstances that may warrant an exception to the I-130 Filing process, and these exceptional circumstances are noted here:
1. U.S. military deployment or transfer. Right before the time of filing, the U.S. citizen is called to duty with very little notice and has to move overseas
2. Short notice of position relocation: A U.S. Citizen petitioner, living and working abroad, who receives a job relocation within the same company or subsidiary to the United States, or an offer of a new job in the United States with very little notice.
3. Close to aging out: A beneficiary is within a few months of aging out of eligibility for the immigrant visa.
4. Threats to personal safety: A petitioner or beneficiary is facing an imminent threat to their personal safety.
In such a situation, the Immigrant Visa Unit will contact the petitioner in question and have them submit their I-130 Form in person. It is difficult to predict, however, how long this process will take. Some cases are processed in only 1-2 months while other cases can take several months.
In addition, according to the U.S. State Department, American citizens residing in Hong Kong and Macau can no longer be able to routinely file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) with the Immigrant Visa Unit of the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong after August 15, 2011. Rather, such a petitioner will need to file their I-130 Form by mail to the USCIS.