This post contains summaries, descriptions, and various other information on the forms required to be filled and submitted in order to immigrate a foreign spouse, or fiancé into the United States.
The forms below are discussed and referenced from our following immigration guides:
- How to Obtain a U.S. Immigrant Visa for a Foreign Spouse
- How to Obtain a U.S. Immigrant Visas for a Foreign Spouse and Children
- How to Obtain a U.S. Nonimmigrant Visa for a Foreign Fiancé
- Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative
- Form I-130A – Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary
- Form DS-260 – Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration
- Form DS-261 – Choice of Address and Agent
- Form I-864 – Affidavit of Support
- Form I-864EZ – Affidavit of Support
- Form I-864A – Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member
Form I-130 is known as the Petition for Alien Relative form. It must be completed by a US citizen (Petitioner) for their foreign spouse (Beneficiary/Intending Immigrant) for the purpose of obtaining an immigrant visa (CR-1 or IR-1) and U.S. Green Card for that spouse.
Form I-130 – Filing Requirements
Form I-130 must be filed with the USCIS. Below are the options of where to file the form based on where you live.
Live in the U.S.
You must file it at one of the two USCIS Droboxes. The Dropbox you have to file at depends on which state you reside in. The info on the Dropbox you have to file at, based on the state you live in, is found here: Direct Filing Addresses
Live outside of the U.S in Country with USCIS Office.
Live outside of the U.S in Country with NO USCIS Office.
Unfortunately, Romania, along with many other countries don’t have a USCIS office. In that instance, and if you’re living abroad, you must file the form at the USCIS Chicago Lockbox facility.
Live outside of the U.S in Country with NO USCIS Office – Meet Exceptional Circumstances.
If you’re living outside of the U.S and meet the criteria of “exceptional circumstances” you can file it at the U.S. embassy of the country you’re living in.
Form I-130 – Completion Requirements
Form I-130 requires you provide thorough information about you and your immigrating spouse. Some of the types of information it requires are things like, histories of: Address, Family, Employment and Marriage(s), as well as complete Biographic, and Contact, Information.
Along with the I-130 form, you will also need to submit documents that verify various information (listed below). The documentation you submit may be legible copies of documents, unless specifically stated that an original must be submitted.
You must submit documentation that proves you are a U.S citizen.
Example of acceptable documents are found in the Instructions PDF under the heading: What documents do you need to show that you are a U.S. citizen?
You must submit documents that proves the marriage is legitimate, and also passport style photographs.
Example of acceptable documents, and photographs required, are found in the Instructions PDF under the heading: What documents do you need to prove family relationship?
You must submit the $535 fee along with the I-130 form.
Instructions on how to pay the fee, as well as to verify if the fee amount is accurate (or hasn’t changed) are found in the Instructions PDF under the heading: What Is the Filing Fee?
Form I-130 – Processing Time and Acceptance
Within 2-3 weeks after filing form I-130 you will receive in the mail a receipt known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action, which states that your I-130 has been received.
To receive an email or text message when your form is accepted, complete Form G-1145, and submit it along with the I-130.
After receiving the petition, it can take anywhere from 5-9 months (and possibly longer in some instances) for the USCIS to review and process the application.
Form I-130A is known as the Supplemental Information for Spouse Beneficiary form. It must be filled out BY THE SPOUSE BENEFICIARY and submitted along with Form I-130A.
Form I-130A requires similar information that is asked for in form I-130. The difference is that I-130A only asks for information about the Beneficiary, and is completed by the Beneficiary.
If the Spouse Beneficiary is living in the United States, they must sign the form, if they are living outside of the U.S., they don’t need to sign it.
Form DS-260 is completed and filed online at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) after you’ve been given a case number, beneficiary ID Number, and Invoice ID Number, from the NVC.
The purpose of the form is to obtain general information about the petitioner, as well as the following types of information and histories about the beneficiary: Addresses, Family, U.S. Travel, Work, Education, Criminal, and Health.
There is a $325 fee for this form which is paid before you can access the form.
If you wish to view an example of what a Form DS-260 looks like you can do so here: Example DS-260
Form DS-260 – Filing Requirements
You complete and submit form DS-260 at the Consular Electronic Application Center
Form DS-260 – Processing Time and Acceptance
After submitting Form DS-260 online, you must print the confirmation page and bring it to your interview. You can access and print it at any time after you’ve completed it.
Form DS-261 is completed and filed online at the Consular Electronic Application Center after you’ve been assigned a case number by the NVC.
The purpose of the form is to choose an agent (person who will receive communication from the NVC about your case) and address (place where correspondence from the NVC will be mailed to).
The agent can be any ONE of the following: spouse, you, friend, family member, attorney, immigration specialist, or anyone else you trust.
The address should be one readily accessible to your agent.
Form DS-261 – Filing Requirements
You complete and submit form DS-261 at the Consular Electronic Application Center
Form DS-261 – Processing Time and Acceptance
You must allow up to 3 weeks for the NVC to process form DS-261 after you’ve summitted it.
Form DS-261 – Resources
Choose an Agent
The purpose of Form I-864 is to form a legally binding and enforceable contract between the sponsor(s) and the U.S. Government. The purpose of the contract is to state that you, as a sponsor, will take responsibility for the financial care of the immigrant you are petitioning.
Form I-864 is also used by agents verifying your case to determine if the immigrant you are sponsoring poses the risk of becoming a public charge. You must use this form, along with other methods of proof, to show that your income meets or exceeds 125% of the U.S. poverty guidelines.
Form I-864 – Filing Requirements
Form I-864, and all accompanying documentations is filed with the National Visa Center (NVC).
Form I-864EZ is a shorter version affidavit of support form (than I-864) and is used in the instance that a sponsor meets all of the below qualifications:
- You filed a Form I-130 petition for your spouse;
- There is only one applicant on the Form I-130 petition;
- You are not using a co-sponsor, or joint sponsor;
- The income you are using to qualify is based entirely on your salary or pension and is shown on one or more Forms W-2, provided by your employer(s) or former employer(s), or IRS-1099 to show pension income.
*Note: If you are self-employed you will not be able to use form I-864EZ and must instead use form I-864
Form I-864EZ – Filing Requirements
Form I-864EZ, and all accompanying documentations is filed with the National Visa Center (NVC).
Form I-864EZ – Notes
- Form I-864EZ is used for the same purposes as form I-864, the main difference in I-864EZ from I-864 is that I-864EZ requires you to meet the above listed qualifications, where I-864 has different qualifications.
- If you are submitting a copy of your Federal income tax return, as proof of income, along with your I-864EZ, then you must also submit copies of any and all W2s or 1099s from your tax return. If you are submitting an IRS transcript of the return, then you do not need to submit any W2s or 1099s.
Form I-864A is used under the condition that you will be combining your income with a family member who will be acting as your co-sponsor.
By completing and filing this form, the household member agrees to help you financially support your spouse because you do not meet the income requirements to financially support the spouse on your own.
Form I-864A – Filing Requirements
Form I-864A, and all accompanying documentations is filed with the National Visa Center (NVC).
Form I-864A – Notes
- You, as the sponsor, have to sign each form I-864A (along with the person who is filling it out) that will be submitted.