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What is an Immigration Petition? 17 Questions You Need to Ask

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Immigrant petitions are for persons who wish to become permanent U.S. residents and be Green Card holders. An Immigrant Petition is required to be filed by your employer, a relative, or yourself in some cases.

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An Immigrant Visa petition can be a family-based petition or an employment-based petition. To know more about immigration petitions, how to petition for alien relative, to register permanent residence, and other questions, here are essential items you need to know:

Is Applying for a Green Card an Immigrant Petition?


To apply for a Green Card, most people must complete at least two forms: a Green Card application form (I-485) and an immigrant petition form. Typically, a third person must file the petition for you, often referred to as a petitioning or a sponsoring party). However, there may be cases in which you can file the petition yourself. 

Helpful article: Detailed Cost of Green Card 

Who Is Considered an Immigrant? 


An immigrant is anyone who resides in the U.S. but not a citizen. Some immigrants may hold documents such as Green Cards, Student Visas, Work Visas, and other kinds of Visas. 

What Are Four Types of Immigrants?


In the U.S., there are four types of immigration status: 

  • Citizens

  • Permanent residents

  • Non-immigrants

  • Undocumented persons 

What Is an Immigrant Petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)? 


For filing an immigration petition with the USCIS, you may use form I-140 or an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to ask USCIS to consider an alien as someone who can be eligible for an employment-based visa. The employer typically files this form for the applicant.

How Long Does it Take For My Immigrant Petition to Get Approved?


Once you file the form I 130, or the Petition for Alien Relative, it will take approximately five to twelve months for an immediate relative to get approval. For other family preference categories or other family relationship classifications, the approval process may take years. 

How Long Does It Take for an I-130 To Be Processed?


It takes approximately 15 to 20 months for immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen to get approved. In the case of siblings, or “family preference visas,” the processing time can take between 13 months to 20 years or more. 

What Happens After the Approval of an Immigration Petition? 


The USCIS will transfer your case to the National Visa Center of the U.S. Department of State after your petition approval.

If I Don’t Have a Job Offer, Can I Immigrate to the U.S.? 

Since most employment Visa application requires a job offer or an employer to sponsor you to obtain your visa, you require a job offer before you can immigrate. Part of the visa application process is when your employer files the petition on your behalf. Without an employer sponsor, you can’t get a visa this way. 

Do I Get a Green Card Once My I-130 Is Approved?


The approval of your I-130 is just the first step in the process of getting a Green Card. 

If I am a U.S. Citizen, How Long Does It Take to Petition my Parents? 


Since there is a short wait and quite a lot of a number of immigrant visas available for the immediate relative category, it will only take approximately 5 to 9 months to petition parents. 

Is There a Minimum Period of Being Married to a U.S. Citizen Before I Can Get a Green Card?


If you have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years at your interview, the USCIS will issue you a conditional Marriage Green Card. However, if you have been married to a U.S. citizen for more than two years, you may apply for a Permanent Marriage, Green Card. 

Who Can Petition for Alien Relative? 


Any U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or US national are lawful permanent resident petitioners who can file Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. 

Can I Follow-up A Petition in the U.S.?


You can check the immigration petition status by visiting the USCIS website. You will need to enter the application receipt number. This number starts with EAC, WAC, LIN, or SRC, followed by other numbers. 

Is There A Minimum Income Requirement To Sponsor an Immigration Petition?


The minimum income requirement for most sponsors in 2021 is 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for the number of people in your household, including yourself and your spouse. In the case of the 48 contiguous states, U.S. territories, and D.C., the minimum income brackets are: 

  • For two members: $21,775

  • For three members: $27,450

  • For four members: $33,125

What Are Different Types of Immigration Status?

An immigration status applies to people who live permanently in the U.S. An immigration status could mean you are a permanent resident, a Green Card holder, an immigrant, or a resident alien. 

Once you are a Green Card holder, that would also mean that you gain a lawful permanent residence status. In any case, you may require an immigration lawyer to adjust status to ensure you can get through the complicated immigration process. 

Is There an Age Limit To Get a Green Card?


There is no age limit to get a Green Card. However, there are certain eligibility requirements to qualify for one. For instance, if you petition a married sister, their unmarried children should be under 21 years of age to qualify for a petition. Other ways to get a Green Card are through employment, being a refugee, or other ways. 

How Much Will I Expect To Spend On My Immigration Petition?


The petition process is long and complicated. Not surprisingly, it can get costly, depending on your immigration status or how complicated your case is. Typically, the amount ranges between $4,000 to $12,000 per person. 



Westover Law Firm specializes in Family Immigration, Employment Immigration, and Administrative Immigration. Our mission is to help families come together and live their dream lives. 

 If you have questions to ask your immigration lawyer and what does an immigration lawyer do about an immigration petition, separate petitions for an eligible relative, and other matters related to petitions of Immigration Law, or to book your first consultation, call us at (480) 284-4200 or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.
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