Top 3 Mistakes on Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

Are you trying to save money by filling out your own form I-130?  I review thousands of immigration form I-130 applications, and almost every one of them has a problem that will cause it to be rejected or delayed. Avoiding these common mistakes is easy if you know what they are:

Top 3 problems on form I-130:

1. Not listing spouse and children.

2. Not listing if you will be adjusting in the US or at a consular post in your country.

3. On spousal petitions, not including the form G-325A with the form.

There are other problems of course, and it’s a good idea to have an expert review your I-130 before you submit it.
(For a very low consultation fee, we can review your form I-130 for you.)

Check back often — we will be updating this list with more helpful tips shortly!

Download form I-130
Download I-130 instructions

Top 5 Free Legal Aid Resources in Los Angeles

How to get free legal aid is a question I get all the time, and there are actually plenty of ways to get free legal help in Los Angeles, but the best recommendation depends on your particular situation.

For example, if you have general questions about a legal matter you may only need to find and attend a free legal clinic, where you can get a consultation with an attorney or help from law students (I’ve volunteered at many of these).  On the other hand, if you are involved in a criminal matter or are in deportation proceedings, you might need to find an attorney to represent you in court “pro bono” (which means providing professional work as a public service without charge).

Here are the top free legal resources in Los Angeles:

1. CARECEN: An immigration clinic held every few months, where attorneys such as myself volunteer to speak about current issues and then help some of the attendees one-on-one afterwards.

2. Harriet Buhai Center: A free family law clinic for low income persons.

3. Domestic Violence Clinics: most Court houses have a free domestic violence clinic to help victims with restraining orders.

4. LACBA Community Services: this is a great resource where you can search within different areas of law to find a lawyer who may be willing to assist you. You’ll need to fall below a certain income level to qualify for Pro Bono, usually.

5. Dept. of Justice List of Free Legal Service Providers in California: If you have a pending immigration case or removal case, you are provided with a list of low-cost or pro bono attorneys that can assist you with your matter.

Also, don’t forget to tune in to the radio show for general questions and answers on immigration topics. And if your situation is urgent, please send me a note by email by clicking here or call to receive a telephone consultation.

Immigration Form Fees Increase in November 2010

CIS is planning to increase fees on most applications on November 23, 2010. One of the only applications not subject to the increase is the N-400, application for naturalization. CIS representatives have commented that the reason the naturalization application fee is not being increased is to encourage those that are eligible to become citizens of the United States!

Final Rule: Schedule of Fees
The following schedule lists the adjusted fees that will take effect on November 23, 2010, alongside the existing fees in effect until that date:

Form No. Application/Petition Description Existing Fees (effective through Nov. 22, 2010 Adjusted Fees (effective beginning Nov. 23, 2010)
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $290 $365
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document $320 $330
I-129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $320 $325
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $455 $340
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $355 $420
I-131 Application for Travel Document $305 $360
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $475 $580
I-191 Application for Advance Permission to Return to Unrelinquished Domicile $545 $585
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant $545 $585
I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa $545 $585
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. after Deportation or Removal $545 $585
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $585 $630
I-360 Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant $375 $405
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $930 $985
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur $1,435 $1,500
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $300 $290


Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition $670 $720
I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability $545 $585
I-612 Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement $545 $585
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act $710 $1,130
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility $185 $200
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act $545 $755
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of Public Law 99-603) $1,370 $1,020
I-751 Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence $465 $505
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $340 $380
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits $440 $435
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition $340 $405
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions $2,850 $3,750
I-881 Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal (Pursuant to Section 203 of Public Law 105–110) $285 $285
I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service $1,000 $1,225
Civil Surgeon Designation $0 $615
I-924 Application for Regional Center under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program $0 $6,230
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention $235 $250
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings $605 $650
N-400 Application for Naturalization $595 $595
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes $305 $330
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document $380 $345
N-600/600K Application for Certification of Citizenship/ Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322 $460 $600
Immigrant $0 $165
Biometrics Capturing, Processing, and Storing Biometric $80 $85

DREAM Act: New Immigration Law?

Great news for immigrants! Congress is considering the DREAM Act. It would grant legal resident status to undocumented immigrant students.

The qualifications to apply: those who entered the United States before turning 16 and were raised here continuously for at least five years prior to the passage of the bill, graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, have been accepted to a college, or joined the military. The bill also says they must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of the application and they must be of “good moral character.”

Remember that this is not a law yet. It still must be considered and voted on by Congress in the next session, and many things about it could change or be added and removed. If it becomes law, you may be able to apply as early as next year.

So, be sure to subscribe to the “Noticias de Inmigracion” to stay updated and learn when you can benefit from this proposed new immigration law.