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Is an immigration lawyer needed to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative if principal beneficiary is in the U.S. illegally?

Chicago, IL |

I'm a 25 year-old Mexican woman. I entered the U.S. without inspection when I was 3 years old. I've lived in Chicago since; have not left the country; no criminal record. Family members have never petitioned for me.
I obtained my Associates Degree in May2009. I got married in May2011.
I have been living with my spouse, who is a natural born U.S. Citizen, for over 2 years. I am currently filing the DACA application with the help of an attorney. My husband and I also want to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative at the same time with DACA, since Deferred Action is not a pathway to permanent residency. I hear that the I-130 is a simple first-step application. Do I really need the help of a lawyer to start it off? Or can I save myself some money and file it on my own?

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Attorney answers 6

Best Answer

No. One can always file an I-130 petition on their own, without the assistance of an attorney to do so.

Nothing in Immigration law is as "simple" as you are describing,however, and the smallest mistake, omission or misstatement on the Forms will have the unpleasant effect of delaying and otherwise hampering your husband's petition on your behalf. It has been my experience that individuals pay for the consequences of misstatements on the I-130 or the G-325 A years later, when finally all eligible to adjust..

In anything having to do with immigration law "cheap" always comes to be too costly..

Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


You can file an I-130 petition, But this petition in of it self does not give you a visa or green-card. You may not be eligible for the green-card in the United States because you entered without inspection. Its important to speak to an immigration lawyer.

Garmo Law Group, PLLC (Michigan) 248-626-0050. This advice is only general in nature and does not constitute an attorney/client relationship. Speak to an experienced attorney before making decisions.


You actually needed an immigration attorney assistance yesterday, based on your post.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


You may want to consult with an immigration attorney to find out more about the process. A self-filed application may make other processes more difficult.

Dhenu Savla, Esq.
SwagatUSA, LLC

This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to be relied upon as legal advice.


There is no law that requires you to hire a lawyer. However since it appears you are going to need to consular process and file a provisional waiver, an attorney would be a very good idea.

The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.


I recommend that you contact an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your case is detail. A good attorney will ask about your background to determine whether you qualify to apply for legal residency inside the US. The facts you provided thusfar would indicate that you may need to depart the US and consular process your case. If that is your case, you would be held subject to a 10 year bar to returning to the US. A waiver may be available to you but waivers are difficult, expensive and time consuming. There is a new process that can help you but you really should have an attorney review your history in detail to determine what immigration process is best for you. The information you find online is just basic information and should not be used in place of a good attorney. While the immigration service permits you to apply for benefits without an attorney, it is never a good idea. It can end up costing you more in the end. I often works on cases where my clients filed without an attorney and then needed help to fix things. It is much easier and less costly to have your case set up properly in the first place. Good luck!

Information provided is intended to answer only the basic question posed. It cannot and should not be construed as legal advice on a specific case and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration attorney for case specific information.