If you have settled in the U.S. as a refugee or you were granted asylum, you can file Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This will allow your spouse and your unmarried children under age 21 to accompany or join you in the United States in derivative asylee/refugee status. You have two years from your grant of asylum or refugee status to apply for this status for these qualifying family members unless this requirement is waived by the U.S. for good cause.
Note that you must be the principal asylee or refugee in order to file I-730 for your family member. If you were granted derivative asylee or refugee status, you are not eligible to file a Form I-730.
Who Will Qualify as a Refugee/Asylee Relative
The following criteria must be met before you can petition your relative to become a derivate asylee or refugee:
- The relationship with your relative must have existed on the date of your asylum grant. Your relationship with a qualifying family member must have existed on the date you were granted asylum or refugee status and must continue to exist when you submit Form I-730. So if you are filing for your spouse, you must have been married at the time your asylum was granted. If you are filing for your child, he or she must have been born or conceived by the date your asylum was granted.
- Your child must be under 21 when your initial asylum application was received or the date of your refugee status interview with USCIS. If your child is over 21 now, he or she might qualify if he or she was under 21 when you first applied for asylum or refugee status. In addition, the child must have been listed on Form I-589 or Form I-590.
- Your child must be unmarried at the time USCIS approves your petition. Only unmarried children under age 21 will be eligible for derivative status. If your child marries while your petition is pending, he or she will not be allowed to accompany or join you. If the child turns 21, he or she might be protected from “aging out” by the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). For more information, see the USCIS webpage on the CSPA.
- There are age limits for adopted children and stepchildren. Adopted children do not qualify unless they were adopted before age 16. A stepchild must have been younger than age 18 on the date of your marriage in order to qualify.
- Your relative must not have persecuted others. He or she must not be subject to this asylum bar in order to qualify for derivative asylum or refugee status.
Line-by-Line Instructions for Form I-730
Here is some helpful line-by-line advice for completing Form I-730. If the answer is self-explanatory, we will skip it.
START HERE: Check the box that best describes you: Refugee, Asylee, Lawful Permanent Resident based on previous Refugee status, or Lawful Permanent Resident based on previous Asylee status. Next, check the box for the relative for whom you are petitioning (your “beneficiary”). You must fill out a separate Form I-730 for each qualifying relative you wish to bring to the United States. Then enter the number of relatives for whom you are submitting Form I-730. There is a space here that says ____ of ____. If you are filing just one relative petition, write "1 of 1." If you are filing for more than one, write the number of petitions you are filing on the second line and number each one separately. (For example "1 of 3.")
Part 1. Information About You, The Petitioner: This section is self-explanatory. Enter your name, address, date of birth, gender, alien registration and Social Security numbers, country of birth, and nationality. You will also be asked to list any other names you have used, provide information about your current and previous marriages, and answer questions about your receipt of asylum or refugee status. For any question in Form I-730 that doesn’t apply to you, do not leave the space blank. Instead, type either “N/A” for “not applicable” or “none,” whichever best fits the situation.
Part 2. Information About Your Alien Relative , the Beneficiary: You will be asked the same questions about your family member that you answered for yourself in Part 1, along with additional questions. If your relative is in the U.S., check the appropriate box. If your relative will apply for travel authorization, list the U.S. consulate or international USCIS office that is most convenient. Make sure to write the mailing address in the language of the country where your beneficiary resides. If you have hired someone to assist you in preparing Form I-730, he or she should check the box “To Be Completed By Attorney or Representative”and provide identification here along with an attached Form G-28.
English and other language fluency: Check the boxes that describe your family member’s language fluency. If your family member who is applying for derivative asylum does not speak fluent English and resides in the U.S., you will need to bring a competent interpreter of 18 years of age or older to the interview who is fluent in both English and the language your family member speaks. A witness, attorney, or employee or representative of your country MAY NOT serve as an interpreter. If you are applying for derivative refugee status for your family member, an interpreter is not required, but it is highly recommended. Relatives outside of the U.S. usually will not require an interpreter at their overseas interview.
U.S. immigration history: You will need to provide information about your relative’s U.S. immigration history. If your relative is or was ever in removal proceedings in Immigration Court, list the court’s name here (and consult an attorney about the implications of this history for your relative's current eligibility). You will later be asked to list all dates and places of U.S. entry, the I-94 number (from the little card put into the passport upon entry to the U.S. or if you entered after April 2013 and did not receive a paper I-94, you can download this information from the Customs & Border Protection website) for any visits, and his or her immigration status at the time. If your relative entered without inspection, type “EWI” in the space for status and write “none” for I-94#.
Part 3. 2-Year Filing Deadline: If you are filing Form I-730 more than two years after you were admitted as a refugee or granted asylum, check “yes” here and provide good reasons for not having applied prior to the deadline. USCIS decides on a case-by-case basis whether to allow late submissions of a relative petition. You should also attach evidence to support your explanation. For example, if you were unable to timely file due to illness, you can attach a note from your doctor or copies of medical records that can prove your incapacity.
Part 4. Warning: This section will warn you that if your relative is in the U.S. but is found to be removable due to immigration or criminal violations or any other grounds of inadmissibility, he or she will be placed into removal proceedings if the I-730 petition is denied. Any information you provide to USCIS can be used in removal proceedings, which is why it is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you of whether or not you should submit Form I-730 for a relative who is currently in the United States.
Parts 5-7. Signatures: You (the “petitioner”) will need to sign and date the form here. If your relative is in the U.S., he or she should also sign and date. If not, that section may be left blank. If somebody helped you prepare the petition, that person should also sign, date, and provide identifying information
Part 8. To Be Completed at Interview of Beneficiary, If Applicable. DO NOT COMPLETE THIS SECTION. If your family member is over age 14 and is interviewed, he or she will sign here at that time.
Checklist for Form I-730
After you have completed the application, make a copy of it and any supporting documentation for your files. Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a complete English translation where the translator certifies his or her competence to translate and that the translation is accurate. Where you will mail your application depends on your state of residence. Consult the I-730 page for this address. There is no filing fee for Form I-730.
Checklist for Filing I-730 Petition:
Here are the items you will need to assemble:
- Form I-730
- Form I-602, Application for Refugee of Waiver of Grounds of Admissibility (if applicable). Certain grounds of inadmissibility are always legally waived for derivative asylees and refugees, such as unlawful presence, immigration violations, and likelihood to become a public charge. Certain others, such as medical, criminal, or other grounds may be waived upon request. If your relative needs to apply for a waiver, you should consult an immigration attorney who can help you to prepare Form I-602.
- Supporting documents, including:
- A copy of your grant of asylum or refugee status. This is either a Notice of Action from USCIS or an order from the immigration judge.
- A copy of the front and back sides of your green card (if applicable)
- A passport-style photograph of your relative
- A copy of your relative’s birth certificate (If you are petitioning for your child and your name is different from that listed on the birth certificate, also provide evidence of your name change.)
- A copy of your marriage certificate (if your spouse is the beneficiary or if you are petitioning for your stepchild)
- Copies of death certificates or divorce decrees for previous spouses (if you and your beneficiary spouse were once married to other people or if your child was previously married)
- A certified copy of an adoption decree (if petitioning for an adopted child)
- Evidence of bona fide relationship. If you are a father who is not listed on the birth certificate, also provide evidence that a parent/child relationship exists. This could include evidence of financial support of the child, insurance or tax records showing the child as your dependent, school records, or affidavits from others confirming the relationship.
- Evidence of U.S. entries. You will need to submit copies of any passport stamps confirming your relative’s U.S. travel and a copy of his or her I-94 Arrival/Departure record, if available.
What Happens After You Submit Form I-730
If your relative is over age 14, he or she will receive an appointment notice to have biometrics (fingerprinting and background check) taken at an Application Support Center in the U.S. or at an appropriate office overseas.
Relatives in the U.S. may be required to attend an interview, and relatives living overseas will definitely be interviewed, either at a USCIS office or consulate abroad. Make sure your relative brings a copy of the I-730 application and a qualified translator, if necessary. He or she may receive a decision on the day of the interview or may be notified at a later date by mail.