Who is Eligible For I-130 Petition For Alien Relative

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Guidelines for eligible beneficiaries on Form I-130 applications include immediate relatives for both U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs)– green card holders, but only citizens can petition for extended family. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires separate applications for each eligible relative, regardless of a petitioner’s status as a citizen or a green card holder.

U.S. citizens can use Form I-130 to petition for these eligible relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried and married children
  • Siblings when petitioners are age 21 or older
  • Mother or father when petitioners are age 21 or older

Green card holders can use Form I-130 to petition for these eligible relatives:

  • Spouse
  • Unmarried child

While USCIS lays out eligible beneficiary relatives under Form I-130, form instructions also spell out those relatives who are ineligible as beneficiaries of the paperwork, regardless of the petitioner’s status. These ineligible relatives include:

  • An adoptive parent or adopted child in cases where the adoption took place after the child turned age 16 or when the child hasn’t been in legal custody and hasn’t lived with parents for at least 2 years before filing the petition
  • A natural parent in cases where a petitioner gained lawful permanent resident status or U.S. citizenship through adoption or as a special immigrant juvenile
  • A stepparent or stepchild in cases where the marriage that created this relationship took place after the child turned age 18
  • A spouse in cases where both the petitioner and the spouse weren’t present at the marriage ceremony unless the marriage has been consummated
  • A spouse in cases where the petitioner gained green card status through a prior marriage to a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, unless the petitioner is:
    • Currently a naturalized U.S. citizen
    • A green card holder for at least 5 years
    • Able to establish clear and convincing evidence that entry into a prior marriage that provided green card status was not done to evade U.S. immigration law
    • A widow(er) who gained immigrant status through the marriage of the deceased spouse
  • Spouses to whom the petitioner married while the subject of an exclusion, deportation, removal or rescission proceeding around the right for admittance into or to remain in the United States, though exceptions to this rule exist
  • Any person USCIS determined entered into or attempted to conspire to enter into a marriage intended to evade U.S. immigration laws
  • A grandparent, grandchild, nephew, niece, uncle, aunt, cousin or parent-in-law

The extensive USCIS restrictions around Form I-130 beneficiaries buoys the importance of correctly completing the form and filing the paperwork. As petitioners keep in mind the goal of satisfactorily establishing the relationship with the beneficiary, USCIS can review and approve applications to get the process moving forward.

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