Form I-130A, Explained

What is an I-130A?

The first step in the family-based green card process is to submit Form I-130 (technically called the “Petition for Alien Relative”) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

The person filing the I-130 is called the “petitioner” or “sponsor.”  This is the person who is the U.S. citizen or green card holder. The person seeking a green card is called the “beneficiary.”

The I-130A is a separate supporting form that must be filed along with any marriage-based I-130 petition. USCIS uses the I-130A to gather essential background information about the spouse seeking a green card—focusing on his or her last five years of residence history and employment history.

Who Must File?

The spouse seeking a marriage-based green card must complete an I-130A and include it with a the I-130 petition. Spouses who are present in the United States must sign the I-130A. Spouses who are outside the United States must still complete and file the I-130A, but they aren’t required to sign it.

Who Doesn’t Need to File?

Since the I-130A is required specifically for the marriage-based green card process, it’s not necessary for those filing an I-130 petition for other kinds of family members (children, parents, etc.).

How Much Does It Cost?

There is no fee associated with the I-130A. It is a form that purely supports the I-130 petition (which does have a fee associated with it).

How Long Does It Take?

The I-130A will be processed by USCIS along with the I-130 petition. There is no additional or separate processing time for the I-130A. (For the full timeline of the entire marriage-based green card process, click here.)

Where to File?

The I-130A is filed along with the I-130 petition, and should be sent to the same place all in one package. Where you should mail your I-130 petition depends on where you live and whether you are filing just an I-130 (officially a “standalone” I-130) or an I-130 along with an I-485 green card application (technically called a “concurrent filing”). USCIS provides a chart with all the different scenarios.

What If I Don’t Remember a Past Address?

According to the official USCIS form instructions, the I-130A should include a complete address history for the last five years, without any gaps.

If you are unable to remember a past address, there are free resources that can help: 

  1. AnnualCreditReport.com is a government-endorsed site that provides up to three free credit reports per year, including a list of past addresses.
  2. If you have used an online retailer for a number of years, you can check your order history for past addresses.

The I-130A isn’t a lengthy form (just 6 pages), but it’s a necessary part of any marriage-based green card application. It’s important to make sure that all the information entered in the I-130A is accurate.

READY TO GET STARTED?

Boundless provides you with an easy-to-use, step-by-step online tool so you can complete your marriage-based green card application process with confidence.

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