Is There a Faster Process for My Family to Become U.S. Citizens?

January 9, 2020

A citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. may help eligible family members to immigrate and establish citizenship. To do so, they must first file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Historically, applicants were required to mail in a hard copy, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that the form may be filled out online, facilitating a faster and more convenient process.

As the USCIS continues to transition to paperless operations, they are making more forms available for online filing, the most recent being Form I-130. To submit the form electronically, which also allows them to:

  • Track the status of their forms/case
  • Pay fees
  • Communicate with the USCIS
  • Respond to requests for evidence

The USCIS is still accepting the paper version by mail but has provided the option of what its acting director describes as a more effective and efficient process.

Family Member Immigration

Whether an applicant is a U.S. citizen, green card holder, or refugee/asylee determines the process that they must take when seeking immigration benefits for their family members. To establish the family relationship, applicants are often required to file Form F-130, which must be approved before applying to become an LPR.

U.S. Citizens

Those who are U.S citizens must petition for either a green card, fiancée visa, or K-3/K-4 visa based on their relationship to their family member. Types of relatives for whom they may petition include:

  • Spouse
  • Children who unmarried and under 21 years old
  • Sons/daughters over 21 years old or married
  • Parents, if applicant is 21 or older
  • Siblings if applicant is 21 or older

Green Card Holders

Permanent residents may petition for spouses, unmarried children under 21, or unmarried sons or daughters of any age. First preference is granted to unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, followed by spouses of green card holders, and unmarried children of permanent residents.


Those who entered the U.S. as a refugee or who were granted asylee status within the past two years may petition for a spouse or an unmarried child who was under 21 at the time of the refugee or asylum status application. There are several eligibility requirements, including completion of Form I-730.

Common Mistakes to Avoid on Immigration Forms

According to the USCIS, mistakes on applications often lead to delays or denials. The following are common errors to avoid when filing Form I-130 or any other form:

  • Not signing the document
  • Using outdated forms
  • Failing to fill in all parts of the form
  • Using colored ink, correction liquids, or highlighters
  • Having illegible writing
  • Paying the wrong fee

Vineland Immigration Attorneys at the MC Law Group, LLC. Help Clients with Citizenship Concerns

If you need assistance with filing Form I-130 or any other immigration matter, contact a Vineland immigration attorney at the MC Law Group, LLC. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout the tri-state area, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide. Contact us online or call us at 215-496-0690 for a free consultation today.