Filing Form I-730, USCIS Relative Petition for Refugee or Asylee Relatives

Filing Form I-730, USCIS Relative Petition for Refugee or Asylee Relatives

Form I-730 is a petition for a refugee’s family members to come to the United States. If you came to the U.S. as either a principal refugee or asylee in the past two years, Form I-730 can be filled out and sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ask for your loved ones to join you.

On this page, you’ll learn about USCIS Form I-730, who qualifies to become a derivative refugee or asylee, and Form I-730 instructions.

What Is Form I-730?

Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, also known as the USCIS relative repetition, is one of many immigration forms that is used to legally be in the United States.

If you are in the United States as a principal refugee or asylee, then you can file Form I-730 for your spouse or your children under the age of 21. The key word is principal. If you are a derivative refugee or asylee, you cannot file Form I-730 with USCIS.

When you file Form I-730 on behalf of your family member, you are petitioning USCIS for your family member(s) to be given derivative refugee or asylee status.

Who Qualifies for the Refugee Asylee Relative Petition?

The principal refugee or asylee must be the person who fills out and files the form for family members. The family members themselves cannot petition for derivative status on their own. To become a derivative refugee or derivative asylee, the family member must:

  • Have an existing relationship with the principal refugee or asylee
  • Be an unmarried child
  • Be under the age of 21
  • Have no record of persecution

Having an Already Existing Relationship on Your Asylum/Refugee Grant Date

When you file Form I-730 for a spousal family member, you must have an already established relationship with the person when you received your refugee or asylum status.

Additionally, you and the partner you are petitioning for must still be in a relationship when you file Form I-730 with USCIS. For your spouse, you must have been married by the time you were granted refugee status/asylum.

If you are filing for your child, they need to have been either conceived or born by the date you were granted refugee status or asylum.

I-730 Petition for Your Unmarried Child

If you are filing USCIS Form I-730 for your child, they must be unmarried. If your child gets married even after you file, they will be ineligible to join you in the United States.

Child Under 21 Years Old

The child you are filing the I-730 petition for needs to be under the age of 21:

  • When you first applied for asylum, or
  • When you had your refugee status interview

Another qualification is for your child to be listed on your initial forms (Form I-589 or Form I-590) when you petitioned for your current status.

If your child is currently 21 and you have already petitioned for them using Form I-730, then they may be protected under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a child is defined as someone under 21 years of age and unmarried. However, as backlogs continued to build up, some children were aging out of the “child” definition.

CSPA went into effect in August 2002 to protect certain children from aging out while they were still waiting on their petition to be reviewed. The child’s new calculated age is their “CSPA age.” CSPA may protect your child, but you should still check with your immigration attorney to ensure that all information on your form is correct and your child is eligible.

Other Form I-730 Child Eligibility Information and Age Limits

  1. If you are petitioning for an adopted child/children, your adopted children need to have been adopted before they were 16 years old to be eligible for the USCIS relative petition.
  2. If you are petitioning for your stepchild, they need to have been younger than 18 years old on the date you were married to their parent.

No Persecution Record

Your spouse or child needs to have not persecuted another person. If they did persecute another, they are automatically ineligible to receive derivative asylum/refugee status.

When Can I File My Form I-730 Petition?

As soon as you get your refugee or asylee status, you have two years to file Form I-730 for your family members. However, there are cases where USCIS waives the two-year time requirement. You must provide evidence of good cause as to why you are filing your I-730 petition after two years.

What Is Political Asylum?

Political asylum grants protection to foreign nationals to enter the United States as a refugee.

You must apply for asylum and also must have been in the U.S. for less than a year upon filing for asylum. You will need to provide USCIS with evidence of persecution in your home country. If you were persecuted because of your race, nationality, religion, societal group, or political stance, you can apply for asylum.

If you qualify and are not yet a principal refugee, talk to the immigration attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. to help you through this process to ensure your safety and security in the United States.

I-730 & Adjustment of Status

According to USCIS, those who receive derivative asylum may apply for a green card. You must be presently in the United States and have had asylum or refugee status for at least one year. You will need to file Form I-485 and a variety of other forms and documents. Speak with your immigration attorney for more information about I-730 and the adjustment of status.

Form I-730 Process: Required Documents

When you submit your I-730 petition, you also need to include documents that act as evidence of eligibility. Be sure to send copies of the required documents to USCIS.

Send in the following evidence along with your Form I-730:

  • A passport-style photo of each family member for whom you are filing a Form I-730
  • Your proof of asylum/refugee status in the U.S.
  • If your qualifying family member is in the United States, you will need to submit a copy of their Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record

You also need evidence of a qualifying relationship with the person you are petitioning for. This could include:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificates
  • Copy of a marriage certificate to your stepchild’s parent
  • Adoption decrees with evidence of legal name changes (if applicable)
  • If adopted, evidence the child lived with you for at least two years
  • Evidence of a bona fide marriage or parent-child relationship
  • Affidavits or secondary evidence from religious or academic institutions if certain evidence is unavailable

If a document is not written in English, it must be translated from the original language to English. The translation needs to be verified as complete and accurate by a translator.

Form I-730 Instructions

Here are step-by-step instructions for filing your I-730 petition. There are a total of eight parts that must be completed.

Start Here

Make sure to start at the very beginning—titled START HERE—by filling in your status as either a:

  • Refugee
  • Asylee
  • Lawful permanent resident (LPR) based on previous refugee status
  • LPR based on previous asylee status

You must also state who the beneficiary is and the number of qualifying relatives you are filing for.

Part 1: Petitioner Information

In this section, you will fill out the information about yourself—the petitioner. You’ll include information like your:

  • Last, first, and middle names
  • Residential and mailing addresses
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Nationality
  • S. Alien Registration Number (A-Number)
  • S. social security number, if you have one
  • Marriage information
  • Asylee or refugee status information

Part 2: Beneficiary Information

Here, you will include much of the information you wrote in part 1, except now about the beneficiary of the Form I-730. You will also need to let USCIS know if the beneficiary is currently inside or outside of the U.S. And you will need to answer some additional immigration questions.

If you are confused about any part of this section, talk to your immigration attorney for clarification and direction about:

  • Language fluency
  • Entry to the United States
  • Immigration history

Part 3: 2-Year Filing Deadline

Fill out this part if you have passed the two-year filing deadline. Here, you will explain your reasoning for not having applied within the required time. You must also provide evidence to support your reasoning.

Part 4: Warning

USCIS adds a warning portion about I-730 removal proceedings. Speak with your immigration attorney about your beneficiary’s status and if they are in the United States with unlawful status.

Part 5: Signature of Petitioner

Make sure you sign and print your name and date here.

Part 6: Signature of Beneficiary

Make sure the beneficiary signs and prints their name and date only if they are in the United States.

Part 7: Signature of Preparer

If anyone other than the beneficiary or petitioner contributed to preparing your Form I-730, make sure they sign the form as well.

Part 8: To Be Completely at Interview of Beneficiary, If Applicable

Do not fill out this section. This section will be filled out at the beneficiary’s interview. You, the petitioner, may be asked to be interviewed as well.


What Is the Form I-730 Processing Time?

Processing times can be difficult to predict, particularly if USCIS is experiencing a backlog. The USCIS Form I-730 process can take between five to ten months, and possibly longer, which does not include any steps that must be taken after you submit your petition.

The full process can take over a year, so it’s important to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney to make sure each step is done correctly to optimize your processing time.

Form I-730: Where to File to USCIS?

There are two different mailing addresses you can send your petition to. The address you use depends on the state you live in. You will either send your petition to:

  1. Nebraska Service Center

P.O. Box 87730

Lincoln, NE 68501-7730


Attn: I-730

6046 N Belt Line Rd. Suite 730

Irving, TX 75038-0019

What Are I-730 Removal Proceedings?

According to USCIS, if your family member is in the United States illegally, they will go through removal proceedings if USCIS does not grant derivative refugee status.

It is important to speak with your immigration attorney immediately about withholding of refugee removal. Withholding of removal protects a refugee from going back to a country where their life and safety is threatened.

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today

The immigration and asylum lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates P.C., have over 30 years of experience in immigration law. We will be with you every step of the way as you come to the United States, and work for you to be reunited with your family in the U.S. through the I-730 petition process.

If you have any questions about the USCIS I-730 process, I-730 processing times, or other questions regarding immigration, asylum, and refugee status, contact us at 312.444.1940 or fill out an online contact form today. We look forward to working with you.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!