Filing U.S. Immigration Forms

September 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

You have to file certain immigration forms with the US consulate abroad or with the USCIS (depending on where you currently stay at the time of applying) to get legal immigration status in the US. If you are in the US, all petitions/applications should be filed with the USCIS.

Applications/petitions that are incomplete or erroneous will be denied. Approximately 40% of the applications submitted every year are rejected because of being incomplete or erroneous. So before you send the form to the USCIS, carefully read any notices, warnings, or explanations on the Forms Entry Page (FEP) in the official govt website Also verify that you are filing the correct form along with the supporting documents and fee and also verify if you are mailing the form to the appropriate filing location as there are different filing locations across the country.

Detailed instructions will come with all the immigration (“I”) or naturalization (“N”) forms. It will contain information about the necessary supporting documents that you need to submit, the submission fees and the filing location. Instructions are user-specific and will differ with specific circumstances. Always ensure that you follow the instructions carefully as making even a small mistake will result in an application or petition being returned to you. It will also lead to further delay in processing.

Immigration Forms Fee and Fee Waivers:

You have to pay a submission fee for most immigration forms and you have to make a check for the fee and send it along with your application. In case, you do not send the check (submission fee and fingerprinting fee) with your application, your application will be sent back to you. Checks should be made payable to “Department of Homeland Security.” USCIS will inform you about the time and location for your fingerprinting.

If you are unable to pay the fee, you can apply for and be granted a fee waiver while filing certain immigration forms. You have to file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. Decision making on such applications is a bit tricky and the USCIS adopts a particular methodology to arrive at a decision on waiver requests. The instructions that come with Form I-912 will have detailed information on the whether you should request for a waiver by filing Form I-912 or through a written statement by the applicant.

The USCIS will come to a decision considering many aspects. They will check if you are receiving a means-tested benefit, or will review your household income level and/or recent financial hardship that will make you eligible for the fee waiver.

Downloading Forms:

Some forms can be filed online. Others can be sent through regular mail. You can fill them out on your computer, print them out, and mail it to the USCIS Application Service Center (ASC) in order to file for a benefit. You can download some forms directly to your local computer, instead of filling them out through your web browser. You need to have the latest version of Adobe Reader. You are most likely required to submit photographs while filing an immigration form. You can find the photo specifications in the form instructions page.


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