Immigration Form
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It is not a secret that immigration is not for the faint of heart. Adapting to a new culture, learning a new language and building a new life are some of the biggest obstacles that immigrants face when they leave their home land. However, there is another emotional factor that plays into this difficulty— being away from family.

Many immigrants who come to the U.S. escaping their homes in search of better life conditions leave their family behind, not knowing when is the next time they will be able to see them again.

While it is true that asylum and refugee status has some intricacies and travel restrictions when it comes to traveling internationally, there may be another option to reunite with your family, depending on your case— Form I-730, or the refugee/asylee relative petition.

Here's what you should know about it.

What Is Form I-730?

Form I-730 is the Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, it allows you to grant derivative status to your relative through the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With this status, certain relatives can accompany you to the U.S., where they will be classified as follow-to-join asylees or follow-to-join relatives.

Why Is Form I-730 Important for Latino Immigrants?

Depending on your immigration status, Form I-730— the refugee/asylee relative petition— can be highly beneficial for Latino immigrants, or really any immigrants regardless of their ethnicity, as it can help you reunite with your family.

The form is significant for family reunification and provides a legal avenue for eligible family members to seek protection in the United States if they are in danger of facing persecution in another country.

How to File Form I-730: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

Before you start filling out the form and moving along with the application, you should first make sure you are fully aware of the requirements for refugee/asylee relative petition, and so are your relatives are as well.

To file Form I-730, you must be the principal refugees or principal asylee. Those with derivative status cannot file Form I-730. After receiving this immigration status, you have two years to file Form I-730 for your relatives.

You can file Form I-730 on behalf of your spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21. However, USCIS still has further requirements to be eligible for the refugee/asylee relative petition. Here are some of them:

  • You and your relative's relationship must have existed on or before the date of your asylum grant or refugee grant.
  • Any relative seeking derivative status must not have persecuted others.
  • Your child must not have married by the time USCIS approves your Form I-730 petition.
  • Any of your adopted children or stepchildren seeking derivative status must meet certain age limits. Adopted children qualify if you adopted them before they turned 16. Stepchildren qualify if they were younger than 18 when they married their parents.

For more information on requirements, click here.

Step 2: Gather Documents

To complete the refugee/asylee relative petition, you'll need to submit some documents. These supporting documents will help prove your relatives' eligibility for this immigration status.

You should submit each of the following that applies to you:

  • Proof that you are a refugee or asylee in the United States.
  • Recent photographs of the family member(s) for whom you petition.
  • If applying for a spouse: your marriage certificate.
  • If applying for a biological child or stepchild: your child's birth certificate.
  • If applying for an adopted child: the adoption decree and records proving that you have resided with your adopted child for at least two years.
  • If applying for a stepchild: your marriage certificate with your stepchild's natural parent.

Step 3: Fill Out and Submit Form I-730

To complete family reunification form, you will of course have to fill out and submit Form I-730.

The refugee/asylee relative petition form has eight sections, along with an initial section at the beginning where you'll note for whom you're applying.

In the first two sections, you will fill out information about you and your relative, with the information and documents mentioned above. In the third part, you will be reminded of your two-year filing deadline. In other words, you must be filing this form within the first two years of being granted asylee or refugee immigration status.

In the fourth section, USCIS will warn you that they might find that your relatives in the United States are removable based on past immigration or criminal issues. So be sure that you're aware of any of your relatives' immigration law violations, if any.

In parts 5 and 6, you will be asked for your and your relatives' signature. While Part 7 and 8 will ask for the information, certification and signature for any interpreter or preparer that helped you file the petition respectively.

Here is Form I-730.

How Much Does It Cost to File Form I-730?

Unlike many other immigration status applications or forms, the refugee/asylee relative petition application is totally free. There is also no cost to schedule a Form I-730 beneficiary interview.

How Can I Check the Status of My Form I-730?

Once a case is submitted and taken to the appropriate USCIS office, the length of time needed to complete the case varies according to its circumstances, and cannot be predicted with any accuracy, since some cases may require further processing and deliberation than others.

You can visit My Case Status on the USCIS website to obtain a status on your Form I-730, refugee/asylee relative petition, case.

Bottom Line

While immigration is always a hard task, there are some avenues that will allow for family reunification, Form I-730, being one of them.

If you are a refugee or an asylee, it is important to explore your options and see if there is any way to see your family once again. It is always recommended to speak to a lawyer, paralegal or expert to get their best advice on what your most convenient option is.

For more information on Form I-730 or the refugee/asylee relative petition process, click here.

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