Immigration law blog

What’s the 1st step to petitioning for an immediate relative?

Petitioning for an Immediate Relative Seattle immigration attorney.jpg

A United States citizen may “petition” for an immediate relative, which is a parent, spouse, or unmarried children under the age of 21. The petition, form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative, is sent to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for processing. The I-130 establishes a legitimate familial relationship between the person who filed (the petitioner) and the immediate relative (the beneficiary).

An immediate relative has a great advantage over other relatives because being classified as an immediate relative prevents the beneficiary from having to wait for what can be more than 10 years for the priority date to become current. The beneficiary cannot apply for residency until the priority date on the I-130 becomes current.

The I-130 requires specific biographical information about the petitioner and the beneficiary, and is submitted with proofs documenting that the relationship is legitimate and not only for immigration benefits. Evidence typically sent with the I-130 includes birth and/or marriage certificates, bill/statements including both names of the spouses, photos, receipts, or any other documentation needed to show that a familial relationship exists.

Once USCIS receives the I-130 along with the proofs, they send a receipt notice within 2-3 weeks. If USCIS feels the evidence of a familial relationship was not sufficient, they may respond to the petitioner with a Request for Evidence.

Processing times vary, but it typically takes 3-8 months for an I-130 to be approved. Once the I-130 is approved, the beneficiary can begin the process of applying for permanent residency, which is Step 2. The manner in which the beneficiary can obtain their residency (green card) varies depending on their immigration history.

Future blog posts (click here) will explain what options are available to become a resident after the I-130 is approved because, depending on the circumstances, the beneficiary may be able to apply for residency at the same time as the I-130 is filed.

Our Seattle immigration law firm, L.I.H. Law, offers low-cost immigration consultations to help you understand this process and then our services include completing and submitting the petition for you to ensure it is done adequately.




L.I.H. Law is a trusted immigration law firm with our office conveniently located in Seattle, near the Seattle Space Needle (2nd Ave and Denny Way).

Our well-respected attorneys exclusively practice immigration law, covering diverse topics: asylum, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), detention cases, fiancé visas (K-1 visas), green cards, immigration status for victims of domestic violence or other crimes, naturalization applications, and much more.

The immigration attorneys and professional staff at L.I.H. Law are dedicated to providing the right solutions to meet our clients’ immigration needs.  Our entire staff is fluent in Spanish and has served clientele from around the world.

Supporting our local immigration community is important to us. Our immigration lawyers and staff are active in volunteering for various community events and organizations, and conducting pro-bono work.


Lesley Irizarry-Hougan

Lesley has been practicing law since July, 2005. She has significant experience in representing clients in Immigration Court, both detained and non-detained cases; appeals from immigration judge decisions, both at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Lesley is actively involved in her community, regularly volunteering at the Latina/o Bar Association Legal Clinic and the King County Bar Association Neighborhood Legal Clinic. Lesley Irizarry-Hougan ha estado practicando exclusivamente leyes de inmigración desde Julio del 2005. Ella tiene experiencia significante representando clientes en la Corte de Inmigración; apelando las decisiones del juez de inmigración, ambos a la Corte de Apelaciones de Estados Unidos para el Noveno Circuito y la Corte de Distrito de Estados Unidos para el Oeste de Washington. Lesley también se especializa en aplicaciones afirmativas, incluyendo aplicaciones para la tarjeta verde (Mica), asilo, NACARA, y aplicaciones de ciudadanía archivado en los Estados Unidos y Servicios de Inmigración. Lesley también hace certificaciones de trabajo, incluyendo aplicaciones de cocineros especializados. Ella habla español nativo.

L.I.H. Law, P.S., Immigration Lawyer, Seattle, WA