Supporting Documents Needed While Filing Form I-130

Petitions for Parents and Children
Parents and children can help each other immigrate to the United States.

Almost everyone filing for immigration to the United States based on a family relationship will have Form I-130 filed for them. This application is called the Petition for Alien Resident and it asks the United States government for the permission to have a permanent resident or citizen’s relative to apply for entry and eventually permanent residence.

Many different kinds of relatives can apply for entry to the U.S. using this form such as spouses, children, parents and even siblings of permanent residents and citizens of the U.S.

Form I-130 isn’t filed by the immigrant him or herself, but rather by the person who is asking the government for their relative to enter the country, the sponsor. The USCIS says that sponsors filing the I-130 should include some other documents (supporting documents) with the application. Below are the kinds of documents sponsors will be expected to include in the application package.

Proof of Residence

The first thing that sponsors need to show when filing for a relative is that they are residents of the U.S. themselves. There are a number of ways to do this:

  • Sponsors who were born in the U.S. can show their birth certificate.

  • Naturalized citizens (people who were once immigrants, but are now citizens) can show the USCIS their citizenship certificate.

  • Citizens who were born outside of the U.S. should show their certificate of citizenship or Form FS-240 (Report of Birth Abroad of a United States Citizen).

  • Permanent residents sponsoring relatives for immigration should include a copy of their own green card with the application.

Proof of Family Relationship

The second thing that sponsors are asked to show for the application is some proof that the sponsor is related to the petitioner, or the person who wishes to immigrate.

Not all family relationships are accepted with this application. Citizens and permanent residents can use Form I-130 to sponsor spouses, children, parents or siblings only.

Additional rules apply, so it’s a good idea to check with the USCIS thoroughly before applying.

Here are some ways sponsors and petitioners can show that they have a valid family relationship for immigration:

  • Parents and children can show that they are related by showing birth certificates, which generally records both the name of the child and the name of the parent or parents.

    • Adopted children can show their relationship by providing an adoption decree.

  • Spouses show their relationship by providing a copy of their marriage certificate.

  • Step-parents can show their relationship to a step-child by showing the child’s birth certificate and their marriage certificate. If the marriage certificate and the birth certificate share one name then that shows familial relationship.

    • Step-parents can also get documents that legally show guardianship over children sometimes.

  • Siblings can show their familial relationship by showing both birth certificates. If both parents’ names match that is enough proof.

    • Half-siblings will need a marriage certificate to show familial connection.

Proof of Identity

The USCIS also asks that sponsors and petitioners include a document showing their identity in the application package, specifically, their birth certificate.

The birth certificate can be from any country (including the U.S. as is the case of citizen sponsorship), but if the document is in another language it will have to be translated.

Properly translated birth certificate packages will include a copy of the original citizenship certificate, the translated document and a signed letter from the translator saying that the translation is correct.

Cover Letter

To make it easier for the USCIS officer to understand a particular person’s case, that person can include a cover letter describing and documenting the relationship.