Form I-130 needs to be filed to prove that a family relationship exists between the U.S. citizen and his/her spouse (Green Card applicant).

This page contains step-by-step Form I-130 instructions for marriage based green card.

  1. Who is filing Form I-130: U.S. citizen
  2. Form I-130 filing fee: $535
    • Double check under ‘filing fee’ subsection on this page to ensure the fee hasn’t changed
  3. Methods of payment:
    • Money order, personal check, or cashier’s check payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”, or
    • Credit Card using Form G-1450
USCIS Form I-130 Instructions, Marriage based Green Card

Form I-130 Instructions

This is U.S. citizen’s information
  • 1. Select “Spouse”
  • 2. Do not select anything
  • 3. Do not select anything
  • 4. If the U.S. citizen (applicant):
    • Gained U.S. citizenship or permanent residence through adoption, then select “Yes”
    • If not, select “No” (common choice)
This is U.S. citizen’s information

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”block” ihc_mb_who=”unreg” ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]

  • 1. Alien Registration Number
    • U.S. born U.S. citizens
      • Write ‘N/A’
    • Naturalized U.S. citizens
      • Refer to your Certificate of Naturalization
        • Enter your Alien Registration Number here, and not your Certificate number
          • Alien Registration Number starts with A
          • They’re both listed on your certificate, so be careful
    • Children to U.S. citizen parents born outside of U.S.
      • Refer to your Certificate of Citizenship
        • Enter your Alien Registration Number here, and not your Certificate number
          • They’re both listed on your certificate and both start with A, so be extra careful
          • The certificate number is one on the top, printed in RED
          • The other is your USCIS Registration Number (Alien Number)
  • 2. USCIS Online Account Number
    • Leave blank if you don’t have one (common choice)
    • Naturalized U.S. citizens who have created a USCIS account will likely have one
  • 3. U.S. Social Security Number
    • Enter your Social Security Number
  • 4. Your Full Name
    • Enter your name as it appears on your U.S. Passport or U.S. Driver’s license, or
    • If you’ve taken or plan on taking your spouse’s last name, use that instead
  • 5. Other Names Used
    • Provide any previously used names on any legal documents
    • E.g. If you have taken your spouse’s last name, provide your maiden name
  • 6 – 9. Self explanatory
  • 10. Mailing Address
    • List the address you want to receive all mail from USCIS at
    • 10 a. In Care of Name
      • If it’s your own address, leave this blank (common choice)
      • If it’s someone else’s address, write his/her name here if you prefer the mail to be delivered under his/her name
    • 10b – 10i. Fill the rest of the address
  • 11. Self explanatory
  • 12 – 15. Address History
    • Leave blank, if you have lived at the same address as listed in item 10 for more than 5 years
    • If you have not lived at the same address as listed in item 10 for more than 5 years then:
      • Use items 12 and 13 to list your previous addresses (going back up to 5 years)
      • Start with most recent and finish with the least recent
      • If you need more space, use ‘Part 9. Additional Information’
  • 16 – 35. Self explanatory
  • 36. Select ‘U.S. citizen’
  • 37. If you are a:
    • U.S. citizen born in U.S.
      • Select ‘Birth in the U.S.’ option
      • For item 38 select ‘No’
    • Naturalized U.S. citizen
      • This option applies if you had a green card and eventually became a U.S. citizen
      • Select ‘Naturalization’ option
      • For item 38 select ‘Yes’
    • Child of U.S. citizen parents born outside of U.S.
      • Select ‘Parents’ option.
      • For item 38 select ‘Yes’
  • 39. For 39 a, b, and c, if you are a:
    • U.S citizen born in U.S.
      • Leave blank
    • Naturalized U.S citizen
      • Refer to your Certificate of Naturalization
        • Put down the certificate # here, and not your Alien #
          • They’re both listed on your certificate, so be careful
        • Fill out date and place of issuance. This should be listed on your certificate as well
    • Child of U.S. citizen parents born outside of U.S.
      • Refer to your Certificate of Citizenship
        • Put down the certificate # here, and not your Alien #
          • They’re both listed on your certificate and both start with A, so be extra careful
          • The certificate number is one on the top, printed in RED
          • The other is your USCIS Registration Number (Alien Number)
        • Fill out date and place of issuance. This should be listed on your certificate as well
    • 40 – 41. Leave blank
    • 42 – 49. Self explanatory[/membership]
This is U.S. citizen’s information
  • 1. Select your Ethnicity
    • ‘Hispanic or Latino’, if you’re Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or of other Spanish culture or origin
    • If none of the above, select ‘Not Hispanic or Latino’
  • 2. Select your Race
    • White, if you’re from Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
    • Asian, if you’re from Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, thePhilippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • Black or African American, if you’re belong to any of the black racial groups of Africa
    • American Indian or Alaska Native, if you’re from North or South America (including Central America), who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment
    • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, if you’re any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands
  • 3 – 6. Self explanatory
This is Green Card applicant’s information

[ihc-hide-content ihc_mb_type=”block” ihc_mb_who=”unreg” ihc_mb_template=”1″ ]

  • 1. Alien Registration Number
    • Leave blank if you don’t have one
      • Quite common you won’t have one
      • If you’re a student, who’s been issued an EAD card for OPT before, write ‘none’
  • 2. USCIS Online Account Number
    • Leave blank if you don’t have one (common choice)
  • 3. U.S. Social Security Number
    • Leave blank if you don’t have one
  • 4. Your Full Name
    • Write down your name as it appears in your passport, or
    • If you’ve taken or are planning on taking your spouse’s last name, use that instead
  • 5. List other names used on any official documentation
    • Provide any previously used names on any legal documents
      • E.g. If you’ve taken your spouse’s last name, provide your maiden name
    • Other Names used such as nicknames i.e. what your family and friends call you, but don’t appear on any legal documents do not need to be mentioned
    • If you need more space, use ‘Part 9. Additional Information’
  • 6 to 9. Self explanatory
  • 10. Has anyone ever filed a petition for this beneficiary?
    • Select ‘Yes’ if anyone has previously filed Form I-130 (family based) or Form I-140 (employer based)
    • If not, select No (common choice)
  • 11a – 11h. Leave blank
  • 12.  Enter your U.S. address
  • 13a – 13h. Leave blank
  • 14 – 20. Self explanatory
  • 21a – 21c. Enter U.S. citizen spouse’s information
  • 22. Write ‘N/A’
  • 25 – 28. Enter U.S. citizen’s information
  • 29 – 44. Enter U.S. citizen’s children’s information, if applicable
    • If you need more space, use ‘Part 9. Additional Information’
  • 45. Select “Yes”
  • 46a. Class of Admission (during your most recent entry to the U.S.)
    • Write down your visa type e.g. B1/B2, H1B etc. -or-
    • If you didn’t require a visa to visit, write down ‘Visitor’
  • 46b. Form I-94 Number
  • 46c. Date of Arrival
    • This is the date of your most recent arrival into the U.S. You can view it here View Travel History
  • 46d. Date of expiration on your most recent I-94
  • 47 – 48. Put down your passport number or your travel document number
    • You will either have a passport (most common) or a travel document, but not both
  • 49 – 52. Self explanatory
  • 53. Immigration Proceedings
    • Select No, if you have never been removed, deported, had immigration conditions rescinded (typically green card revoked), or been involved in immigration court proceedings
    • If you have to select yes, please stop and contact an Immigration Attorney and check if you are eligible to file
  • 54 – 56. Leave blank if you selected ‘No’ in item 53
  • 57a – 58f. Beneficiary name in roman letters
    • Leave blank, if you’ve provided green card applicant’s name above (common choice)
    • If you were not able to provide green card applicant’s name using the English alphabet (A to Z) above, print this form and fill this information in your green card applicant’s native language
  • 59 – 60. Self explanatory
  • 61. Enter the USCIS field office city and state
  • 62a – 62c. Write ‘N/A’

[/membership]

This is U.S. citizen’s information
  • 1. Have you ever previously filed a petition for this beneficiary or any other alien?
    • Select ‘Yes’, if in the past the U.S. citizen has filed a green card petition, for the current spouse or anyone else (e.g. family member)
    • Select ‘No’, if not (common choice)
  • 2 – 5. Previous petitions
    • Leave blank if you selected ‘No’ in item 1 above (common choice)
    • If you selected ‘Yes’ in item 1 above, provide information
      • If you need more space, use ‘Part 9. Additional Information’
  • 6 – 9. Other current petitions
    • If you are petitioning any other relatives along with your spouse (typically his/her kids), provide their information
    • If none, leave blank
This is U.S. citizen’s information
  • 1a. Select this box, if the U.S. citizen or Green Card applicant has filled this application (common choice)
  • 1b. Select this box, if an interpreter has filled this application
    • Provide language the interpreter used to communicate with you
  • 2. Select this box, if an interpreter has filled this application
    • Provide the full name of the interpreter
  • 3 – 5. Provide the U.S. citizen’s (applicant) information
  • 6. Sign and Date after printing the form
    • Sign in Black ink
    • If you forget to sign and date, your application may get rejected

This section should only be filled if you used an interpreter to fill your form. If not, leave this section blank.

This section should only be filled if anyone else besides the U.S. citizen (applicant) or green card applicant has filled this form. If not, leave this section blank.

This section should only be filled if the information provided in sections above needed additional space. If not, leave this section blank.

If you’re using this section, make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Fill out 1a, 1b, 1c
  2. Fill 2, if applicable
  3. Do no repeat the information provided in the sections above
  4. If you need additional space, make copies of this section, and repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for every copy.

Tips and Checks:

  1. If you’re hand-filling the form, use a BLACK pen
  2. We recommend downloading the form to your computer and saving regularly, so you don’t lose your entered information
  3. Make sure the form hasn’t expired. Expiration date is stated on the top right corner of the form
  4. For those who have already taken or are planning on taking your spouse’s last name, use your new last name while filling the application.
    • It does not matter if your SSN, Drivers License, Passport etc. have not been updated to reflect your new name. Your marriage certificate suffices the name change requirement
  5. For items that are Not-Applicable, write ‘N/A
  6. For item that have the answer none, write ‘none’
  7. We think our Form I-130 instructions are sufficient, but if you want more information here are USCIS’s instructions.

Form I-130 Instructions FAQs

Per USCIS, the purpose of Form I-130 is for U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States to establish relationship to certain alien relatives who wish to immigrate to the United States.

In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file Form I-130 for the Green Card applicant to become eligible to file for green card.

Yes, these Form I-130 instructions are limited to marriage based green card when both spouses are physically present in the U.S.

If you’re looking for Form I-130 instructions for a different category, visit our green card journey page.

In this case, the U.S. citizen needs to file form I-130.

Detailed step-by-step instructions can be found in Form I-130 instructions section above.

This concludes Form I-130 Instructions. If you have any thoughts, questions, or clarifications on Form I-130 instructions, feel free to ask and/or discuss them in the appropriate category within Marriage based Green Card discussions.

Legal Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any U.S. Government Agency. We are not Immigration Attorneys and no content on this website should be construed as legal advice. ©2022 GREENCARDEZ, LLC

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?