In order to qualify for a marriage-based I-130 petition, the petitioner, who is the sponsoring person for the spouse, has to be a US citizen or permanent resident. A permanent resident is commonly known as a green card holder. Therefore, both a US citizen and permanent resident can file an I-130 petition for a spouse who is outside of the United States.
What Documents Do We Need To Apply For The Marriage-Based I-130 Petition?
To apply for the marriage-based I-130 petition, the petitioner will need to include the I-130 form and marriage certificate at the time of filing. The most important document that is attached to the I-130 form is the marriage certificate. Of course, the marriage certificate will depend on the country where the marriage occurred between the petitioner and their spouse. The marriage certificate has to be a supportive document that states who got married, the date, and the seal of the country’s government. If it’s a court marriage, then the document will be from the court. If the marriage took place elsewhere, it has to be a proper document.
In addition to the marriage certificate, there should be evidence that substantiates a genuine wedding. Any supporting documents or affidavits of people who attended the wedding and pictures of the ceremony, if it was a church or cultural wedding, are useful is showing that the wedding happened.
How Do We Prove Our Marriage Is Real?
To prove that a marriage is real it is essential to attach all of the appropriate documents. It is important to include affidavits that demonstrate that a ceremonial wedding occurred. Or, if it was a court wedding, the prior document requirements that were submitted for the wedding should be attached to the marriage petition. All of the documents that you submit with the I-130 will prove that a genuine wedding took place.
What Happens After The Marriage-Based I-130 Petition Is Approved?
After the I-130 marriage-based petition is approved the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sends the petition to the National Visa Center (NVC). The purpose of the National Visa Center is to accept the I-130 approval and coordinate with the consulate since the beneficiary of the I-130 is abroad. The reason they try to coordinate with the consulate is because the beneficiary is supposed to go through the process of obtaining the final approval for permanent residence.
They collect more documents, including the 864 affidavit of support form and the financial ability of the petitioner. The purpose of the 864 form is to inform the government that the petitioner has the ability to support the permanent resident once the application is approved. All of these documents are collected by the NVC. The interview date with the consulate abroad is also scheduled. The consulate where the beneficiary will go after the approval is specified on the I-130 form.
Certain documents and its supporting documentation have to be uploaded through a portal. It takes an average of 8 to 10 weeks to regularly process. The consulate then gets ready for the interview. In the meantime, the beneficiary is given instructions on how to proceed with medical matters and other required documents, such as police clearance, before the interview process takes place. The police clearance will depend on the country where the beneficiary is coming from. all those The instructions are given to the beneficiary by the NVC to complete before they appear for the final interview to get the green card. The consulate abroad schedules the interview time, and the timeline takes at least three to four weeks.
Due to COVID-19, most of the consulates are still closed. Otherwise, the consulate prepares them and gives them sufficient notice to appear at the interview with the documents required. The interview process and the consulate is the final stage of approval of the I-130 petition. The consulate decides whether the person is genuinely appearing and that they are not seeking a green card solely to immigrate to the United States. It has to be a genuine marriage. They cross-verify everything. If the process goes well at the consular interview, they will approve the permanent resident card for the beneficiary. As a result, they will stamp the approval on the beneficiary’s passport. The stamp is called the I-551 stamp. Once the I-551 stamping is done, the beneficiary of the I-130 petition is ready to travel to the United States. They won’t have the physical green card with them, but they will be eligible to travel to the United States. As soon as they get to United States, they can start working based on the I-551 stamp on the passport. They can also immediately apply for the physical permanent resident card, which is the green card.
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