Form I-730, officially known as the “Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition,” is a form used by individuals granted asylum or admitted to the United States as refugees to request derivative status for their qualifying family members. The purpose of Form I-730 is to allow these refugees or asylees to petition for their eligible family members, who are still abroad, to join them in the United States.
Key points about Form I-730:
- Derivative Status: The form is used to request derivative refugee or asylum status for qualifying family members. Derivative status allows the family members to enter the United States and receive similar protections as the principal refugee or asylee.
- Eligible Family Members: The qualifying family members who may be included in the petition typically include the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of the principal refugee or asylee. Other family members may also be eligible under certain circumstances.
- Timely Filing: It’s important for the principal refugee or asylee to file Form I-730 for eligible family members within two years of being granted asylum or admitted as a refugee. Filing within this timeframe is crucial for the family members to be eligible for derivative status.
- Conditions for Approval: The approval of Form I-730 is contingent on the principal refugee or asylee maintaining their refugee or asylum status and meeting other eligibility criteria.
- Consular Processing: Once the petition is approved, the eligible family members go through consular processing to obtain the necessary documentation and visas to travel to the United States.
How to prepare and file Form I-730?
Filing Form I-730 involves a series of steps to ensure that the application is completed accurately and submitted with all the required supporting documentation. Here’s a general guide on how to prepare and file Form I-730:
- Read the Instructions:
- Start by carefully reading the instructions provided with Form I-730. The instructions, available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website, provide detailed information on eligibility requirements, supporting documents, and the filing process.
- Gather Required Documents:
- Collect all the necessary supporting documents. This may include proof of the principal refugee or asylee’s status, evidence of the relationship between the principal and the family members, and any other documents specified in the instructions.
- Complete the Form:
- Fill out Form I-730 accurately and completely. Ensure that all required fields are filled in, and provide detailed and truthful information. Use black ink and write legibly.
- Pay the Filing Fee:
- Check the USCIS website or the form instructions for the current filing fee. Include the appropriate fee with your application. Some applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver; check the instructions for details.
- Submit the Form:
- Mail the completed Form I-730 and supporting documents, along with the required filing fee, to the address specified in the instructions. Make a copy of the entire application package for your records.
- Receive a Receipt Notice:
- After USCIS receives your application, you should receive a receipt notice confirming that they have received your Form I-730. This notice will contain a receipt number that you can use to track the status of your case.
- Wait for USCIS Processing:
- USCIS will review your application and may request additional documentation if necessary. The processing time can vary, so be patient and regularly check the status online using the receipt number.
- Approval or Denial:
- If the petition is approved, USCIS will notify you, and eligible family members will need to go through consular processing to enter the United States. If the petition is denied, USCIS will provide reasons for the denial, and you may have the option to appeal or refile, depending on the circumstances.
Filing Form I-730 vs Form I-130
Form I-730 and Form I-130 serve different purposes within the U.S. immigration system, and they are used in distinct family-based immigration processes. Here’s a brief comparison of the two forms:
- Form I-730 – Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition:
- Purpose: Form I-730 is used by individuals granted asylum or admitted as refugees in the United States to petition for derivative status for their qualifying family members who are still abroad.
- Eligibility: The principal applicant (refugee or asylee) files Form I-730 to request derivative status for their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old.
- Processing: Once approved, eligible family members go through consular processing to join the principal refugee or asylee in the United States.
- Form I-130 – Petition for Alien Relative:
- Purpose: Form I-130 is used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) to petition for certain qualified family members to immigrate to the United States.
- Eligibility: U.S. citizens can file Form I-130 for their spouses, parents, children, and siblings. Lawful permanent residents can file for their spouses and unmarried children.
- Processing: Once the I-130 petition is approved, the family member must wait for a visa number to become available (if applicable) before proceeding with an immigrant visa application or adjustment of status.
In summary, while both forms involve family-based immigration, Form I-730 is specifically for refugees and asylees to petition for family members abroad, and it is filed by the principal refugee or asylee. On the other hand, Form I-130 is generally used by U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor certain family members, and it can be filed by the sponsoring family member in the United States.