Under federal law, some relatives of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents can sponsor eligible family members to come to this country. Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, is the immigration form an individual in the United States fills out to establish her relationship with a relative who wishes to immigrate.
The petition is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. If the person filing the I-130 later changes her mind, she can withdraw the petition by sending a letter to Immigration.
What Is a Form I-130?
A person who is in the United States legally as a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident can file a petition called a Form I-130. This form establishes the relationship between the two people and opens the door for the immigration application of the person wishing to come to this country who is an “eligible relative,” such as the person’s spouse or child.
For example, if two people get married but only one is a U.S. citizen, that person can file a Form I-130 on behalf of his spouse. This would let the immigration officials know that the two people are married, which makes the alien spouse an “eligible relative.” That facilitates her application to get a green card.
What Is the I-130 Procedure?
Filing Form I-130 for a spouse or other eligible relative does not, in and of itself, give the spouse any legal immigration status. Rather, it makes it possible for the relative to file an application to become a legal resident of the United States. For relatives already in the country, the correct form to use is Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Those residing outside the country can apply for a U.S. visa with the United States State Department.
Once Form I-130 petition is filed, the Immigration Service checks out the facts of the document and approves or disapproves it. If it’s approved, the relative can apply to become a permanent resident.
What Does Withdrawal of Form I-130 Involve?
True love and family relationships don’t always run smoothly. If the person filing Form I-130 gets angry with his spouse or relative, he can decide not to sponsor them as eligible relatives. This could happen for any number of reasons.
If that occurs, the person withdrawing the Form I-130 petition must write to the Immigration Service and notify them of his decision. In the letter, he should enclose a copy of the original petition or provide information identifying it. He can withdraw the petition at any time before final adjudication of the relative’s immigration status.
However, if the petitioning individual admits that the reason for withdrawal is that the marriage was entered into solely to provide an immigration benefit for the other party, or if any fraud is indicated, the Immigration Service will take notice and keep a record. Any later I-130 petition involving the same parties must include both an explanation of the prior withdrawal and evidence showing that the relationship is actually genuine.
What Is the Effect of Form I-130 Withdrawal?
Withdrawing a Form I-130 petition should not be done lightly. Once the petition has been withdrawn, the withdrawal cannot be reversed or the petition reinstated. That means that any new attempt to sponsor the individual must begin from scratch and will go to the back of the line.
To begin again, the petitioner must file a new I-130 application with a new fee and does not have the right to skip ahead of the others in the processing time with the Service Center. A new petition can also be withdrawn by the petitioning U.S. citizen.
- National Visa Center: Attn: CMR; 31 Rochester Ave. Suite 100; Portsmouth, NH 03801-2914
- Carefully consider the decision to withdraw an I-130 petition. The process of withdrawing a visa petition is irrevocable. A petitioner that withdraws an I-130 petition and wishes to reinstate the petition must refile, and any statements made in the withdrawal letter may be considered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as grounds to deny the subsequent petition.
Teo Spengler earned a JD from U.C. Berkeley Law School. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an MA and an MFA in English/writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.