If you have settled in the U.S. as a refugee or you were granted asylum here, you can file Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with supporting documents. 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. (See I.N.A. § 207(c)(2) and I.N.A. § 208(b)(3).)
You have two years from your grant of asylum or refugee status to apply for this status for these qualifying family members. The only exception is if the U.S. agrees to waive this requirement for good cause in your case.
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.
The following criteria must be met before you can petition your relative to become a derivative asylee or refugee:
Here is some helpful line-by-line advice for completing Form I-730 (the version USCIS issued on 12/08/2021). 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 filing just one relative petition, write "1 of 1." If you are filing for more than one, write the total number on the second line and number each one separately. (For example, if filing for three people, you'd write "1 of 3" on one petition, "2 of 3" on the second, and "3 of 3" on the third petition.)
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, it's best not to 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, plus 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, that person should check the box "To Be Completed By Attorney or Representative" and provide identification here along with an attached USCIS Form G-28.
Various questions about family members' 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#.
Various questions about family members' English and other language fluency: Fill in information about your family member's language abilities. If your family member who is applying for derivative asylum does not speak fluent English and lives in the United States, 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 is highly recommended. Relatives outside of the U.S. usually will not require an interpreter at their overseas interview.
Various questions about family members' entries into the United States. Make sure the information entered here doesn't contradict anything you've stated to the U.S. government in the past. The I-94 number can be obtained from the CBP website. A "travel document" could be an alternative to a passport (such as a "refugee travel document") or a separate document for U.S. reentry, such as "Advance Parole.")
Part 3. Two-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. 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 advise you that if your relatives are in the U.S. but are found to be removable due to immigration or criminal violations or any other grounds of inadmissibility, they will be placed into removal proceedings in immigration court if the I-730 petition is denied. This is why it's important to consult an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you whether or not it's wise to submit Form I-730 for a relative currently in the United States, especially without lawful status.
Parts 5-6. Signatures: You (the "petitioner") as well as your relative ("the beneficiary") will need to provide some final information and assurances that you are telling the truth, and sign and date the form here. If your relative is not the U.S., that section may be left blank.
Part 7: If an interpreter helped you understand this form, that person's information and signature must go here.
Part 8: If somebody helped you prepare the petition, that person should also sign, date, and provide identifying information
Part 9. 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.
Keep in mind that submitting the form alone is not enough. You will need to submit supporting documents (as detailed on the instructions to the form, found on the USCIS I-730 page), most importantly proving the claimed family relationships; such as a birth certificate for children and a marriage certificate for a spouse. If your marriage wasn't formally legalized, but was an informal or refugee-camp marriage, USCIS will it if you can show that you couldn't have your marriage legally recognized where it happened because of your flight from persecution and circumstances beyond your control, or due to restrictive laws or practices in your home country or country of first asylum. Such a marriage must meet all other legal requirements.
After you have completed the I-730 application, make a copy of it and any supporting documentation for your files. If you will be submitting any foreign language documents, these must be accompanied by a complete English translation, in which the translator certifies his or her competence to translate and that the translation is accurate.