USCIS Updates I-130 and Releases New I-130A
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released an updated version of Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative on Feb. 28, 2017. The new version, dated 2/27/17, goes into effect April 28, 2017. Until then, petitioners may use either the new version or the one dated 12/23/16. The revision includes significant changes in the form’s length; the amount and type of data collected; the introduction of a new Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary; and a potential change in the filing process.
The updated Form I-130 grew from two pages to 12. As with recent changes to other USCIS forms, it is a fillable form with a two-column format that includes individual data fields. The increased form length is due to both the format changes and additional questions asked about both the petitioner and the beneficiary. In addition, the form concludes with new declarations and certifications to be completed by the petitioner, interpreter and preparer.
The new I-130 also asks additional questions about the petitioner’s background. Questions in this section include the petitioner’s address and employment history for the last five years; information on parents; on current and prior spouses; and identifying information like ethnicity, race, height, weight, eye color and hair color. For spousal petitions this biographic information was previously provided on Form G-325A. With the new I-130, this information is required for all petitions regardless of the relationship.
The G-325A will no longer be required for either the petitioner or beneficiary in a spousal case. However, a new Form I-130A, Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary, must be submitted with every I-130 spouse case. It is used to collect background information on the beneficiary, such as address and employment history for the last five years, last physical address outside the United States, and parental information. If a spouse is overseas, the Form I-130A must still be completed, but the spouse abroad does not need to sign the form. Also, the instructions accompanying the new I-130 say two color passport-style photographs of both the petitioner and the beneficary spouse must be submitted, unless the spouse is abroad. In that situation only the petitioner’s photos are required.
A notable addition to the revised instructions to the new I-130 is found on page 3, in a section called Biometric Services Appointment. This section explains that USICS may require petitioners to appear for an interview at any time to provide fingerprints, a photograph and/or a signature verifying identity, to collect additional information, and to conduct background and security checks including an FBI criminal history check. The instructions further explain that after receipt of the I-130, USCIS will ensure it is complete and will notify the petitoner in writing if he or she needs to attend a biometrics appointment. It is unlcear from the instructions under what circumstances a petitoner will need to appear for biometrics, but this could potentially affect processing.
The new version of the I-130 and the new I-130A can be found on the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-130.