Where to Get Form I-130 Instructions?
Official Form I-130 instructions come with every I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. These directions tell the petitioner where to mail it, what documents to attach and where to send it. If that is not enough, one can also look at sample forms, legal guides and unofficial tips and advice from fellow applicants on the Internet. Lastly, you can hire an immigration attorney to help you prepare your forms.
In a previous post, I summarized how we filed an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative for me as the spouse of a U.S. citizen. Even with all the form instructions, we still had questions about it and other subsequent forms. The Internet and some books have proven invaluable for help in these matters.
Form I-130 Instructions and Sample Forms
We looked at several types of visa form samples and instructions.
Sample I-130 forms
- Sample I-130 forms, blank: Of course, we needed a blank form to fill out and use in our petition.
- Sample I-130 forms, filled out: When we wanted to see what others may have entered in the I-130, we looked at completed examples.
Form I-130 instructions
- Official instructions in form I-130
- Published legal guides with step-by-step form guidelines
- Unofficial tips and help in green card, visa forums online
Let me go over these one at a time.
Sample I-130 Forms, Blank
First off, where to get the Form I-130 to use anyway? We got all our green card and visa forms from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. That was several years ago, before USCIS revamped its site. USCIS forms have version dates, so we could make sure we had the most current.
The form is in interactive PDF format. My husband typed directly in it on the computer, then printed and signed it by hand.
I suppose you could also get a spouse visa kit from a U.S. visa service, for a considerable fee. But we never used any of those.
Sample I-130 Forms, Filled
There’s two places we got hold of sample I-130 forms that were already filled out:
- Visa form samples: Available at VisaJourney.com. Unofficial, non-legal advice yet extremely helpful. I don’t know how up-to-date their material is, but at the time it was perfect for us. Make sure you check their guides and forums as well.
- NOLO books: Specifically How to Get a Green Card and Fiance and Marriage Visas. There are sample forms already filled out as well as detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to answer each item in the I-130 form. The above links take you to the latest edition (as of 2012).
Form I-130 Instructions
Besides the official form instructions, we also checked with online communities of visa applicants (and their families). Although we never used them, I was glad I discovered NOLO legal guides later. It might have made things a lot easier.
- Official USCIS Form I-130 instructions are available at the USCIS forms section.
- NOLO books like How to Get a Green Card and Fiance and Marriage Visas have step-by-step guides for various immigration forms. (See above section.)
- Discussion forums like at VisaJourney.com are a great place to ask general visa questions. You won’t get professional legal advice there, but often the insights of others who went through the same process were sufficient for us.
In my last article, I talked about filing an I-130 petition for a spouse. Next is how we got our petition approved so I could apply for an immigrant CR-1 visa.
Not Legal Advice
It helps to review form I-130 instructions, sample forms and samples and directions for other green card-related matters. But please remember that we didn’t have any special circumstance in our case. We didn’t have legal problems in the past or at the time of filing the petition. There was no need to request an expedite of our case. And we had no problem meeting the minimum income requirement for the petitioner to support the applicant. So just getting general help over the Internet was enough for us.
That might not be the case with people who have a special situation or problem. Neither a forum, a website nor a book could give adequate help to such a person. If you have any doubts or concerns, if you get into a legal bind, or if your situation is simply complicated, I’d suggest you consult an immigration lawyer. Don’t be disheartened. Through forums, I’ve seen many, many couples get their green card and visa applications approved without legal help. But for some, it’s necessary. Good luck!
For helpful links and books, see green card resources page.