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
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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
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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.

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