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Does Filing an I-130 Establish Immigrant Intent?

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Does the act of filing an I-130 in and of itself establish immigrant intent? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. My man Nikolai wants to know, "If I file an I-130 for someone does that establish that they have immigrant intent?"

Well, what in the heck is immigrant intent in the first place? So the United States government makes a big distinction between immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas, immigrant intent and non-immigrant intent. So if you're coming on a visit visa, or a student visa, or some temporary visa where you're promising to go back home, that's showing non-immigrant intent. But if you let it be known to the State Department or USCIS that you went to plant your flag in the United States and stay here, then that's immigrant intent. That's showing that I have immigrant intent. I don't intend to go back home. I'd like to stay and get a lawful permanent residence and maybe become a citizen one day.

So that's a big distinction because if you have what's called established immigrant intent, if you've demonstrated immigrant intent to the government and you apply for a non-immigrant visa, like a student visa or a visit visa, you're most likely going to be denied because the whole point of the analysis in a non-immigrant visa situation is will this person go back home to the home country? So it's sort of inconsistent to stay on the one hand I want to have a Green Card but oh, I'm just coming to visit.

So now Nikolai's question is the I-130, a petition for an alien relative, does the filing of that in and of itself establish that the beneficiary has immigrant intent and I think that it does. Remember this topic is going to come up at most likely at the embassy. It could come up at an interview here in the United States, but that's very unlikely. Most likely this is going to come up if the visitor or the intended visitor has a pending I-130 and they go to the embassy and the officer's going to say, "Well, we think you have immigrant intent because your brother, or your mother, or your son, or your husband, or spouse filed an I-130 for you. That says that they want to eventually have you immigrate to the United States and therefore we're not going to give you this visa." So I do think Nikolai, that the simple act of filing an I-130 is enough to give them leverage or an argument that you have established immigrant intent.

So a lot of times we'll tell people that if they want to come on a visit, they might do that before they file the I-130 petition so that they can come and visit. Because once you filed that immigrant petition for your brother, or your spouse, or your parent, or your child, that's going to make it very hard for them to come to the United States on a non-immigrant visa.

Hope this makes sense. If you have questions about the immigrant or non-immigrant intent question or any other questions related to US immigration, give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join our Facebook group. It's called Immigrant Home. We'd love to have you in there. We put updates of immigration news in there every day and then if you liked this video, subscribe to it and share it out on social media. We'd love to have you join our YouTube and LinkedIn groups so that you can get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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