Category Archives: Green Card

Blog articles in this category include information about obtaining and maintaining a green card and issues related to lawful permanent resident and conditional permanent resident status in the United States.

How to Do a Green Card Name Change After Marriage or Divorce

Green Card Name Change ProcessThere are various reasons you may want to do a green card name change. Everyday people get married and divorced, often resulting in a legal name change. Others may just decide to adopt a more Western style name after immigrating to the United States. Whatever your reason, a green card name change is a relatively simple matter.

It’s important to understand that the legal name change must take place before you update the green card. In other words, you’ll need a registered copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, or other court-issued document showing your name was legally changed. Once you have this, you can complete your green card name change. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Number ExplanationAfter you’ve filed almost any application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they will respond by mailing you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-2 weeks. The I-797, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants that have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, this receipt letter will indicate that the case has been rejected. The applicant will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, this receipt letter will indicated that your case has been accepted. Once the form has been accepted, USCIS will begin reviewing your case.

The receipt letter contains a unique 13-digit receipt number. Also known as a case number, it’s a very important number to help you track the progress of your case or identify a particular immigration filing.
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Financial Sponsor Needed for a Family-Based Green Card

Financial sponsor needed for family based green cardAn applicant for a family-based green card will need a financial sponsor in the United States before immigrating. Although some new green card holders may be able to find employment immediately and support themselves, the financial sponsor is necessary in case things don’t go as planned.

In fact, every person who immigrates based on a relative petition must have a financial sponsor. So whoever files Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on behalf of a family member (or Form I-129F on behalf of a fiancé) must also agree to be the financial sponsor and file an affidavit of support when the time comes for the person to actually immigrate to the United States. Continue reading

History of the Green Card

history of the green card
The green card, which only recently became green again, has a history with a variety of names and colors. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially refers to it as the Permanent Resident Card. However, it has also been known over time as a Resident Alien Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card. You may even notice that USCIS labels it as Form I-551. In fact, the history of the green card is very colorful. Continue reading

Filling Out the Green Card Renewal Form

filling out green card renewal formWith 8 pages of questions (and another 13 pages of instructions), filling out the green card renewal form can be an intimidating process for many applicants. Officially known as Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, the green card renewal form can be prepared by most permanent residents without extensive help from an attorney. If you have a straight forward case, you can do it yourself.

If you’re ready to tackle the green card renewal form by yourself, go the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at www.uscis.gov/i-90/ to download the Form I-90 and filing instructions. Although there is a $540 government filing fee, there is no fee to obtain the application.

Applicants that want some extra support and reassurance that they’re doing everything correctly can use CitizenPath.com, a low-cost, online service that helps permanent residents fill out the green card renewal form. It’s free to try, and costs hundreds less than a lawyer. When you complete the Form I-90, you’ll receive the neatly prepared official Form I-90 that’s ready to sign. You’ll also get some simplified filing instructions so you know what to include with your Form I-90 application and where to mail it. Try it now. Continue reading

Proving Country of Domicile on I-864 Affidavit of Support

Country of Domicile for I-864 Affidavit of SupportU.S. immigration law requires intending immigrants in family-based visa categories to show that they have financial support in the United States. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident that petitions a family member for a green card also must file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The affidavit of support is a legal contract between the petitioner and the U.S. government. On Form I-864, petitioners must prove that they have the ability to financially support the visa applicant(s) if necessary. But the petitioner must also prove that his or her country of domicile is the United States.

In fact, there are three fundamental requirements for acting as the sponsor on the affidavit of support. The sponsor must: Continue reading

Tips for Avoiding the I-751 Interview

couple that did not avoid the I-751 interviewIt is possible to avoid the dreaded I-751 interview. No couple wants to visit USCIS to be prodded with personal questions about their marriage. What’s more, the stakes are high. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) isn’t convinced that you have a bona fide marriage, the conditional resident’s status may be in jeopardy.

As a matter of law (INA §216) a couple must appear for a personal interview in order for the conditions of residence to be removed. But if USCIS is satisfied that the marriage was not for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, they may waive the interview and approve the I-751 petition. Let’s help you avoid the I-751 interview all together. Continue reading

Green Card Renewal from Outside the U.S.

Green Card Renewal From Outside the U.S.You are outside the United States. Perhaps you’re visiting family or traveling on business, and you realize that your green card is expiring, already expired or even missing. You already know that having valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status is critical for reentry at a U.S. port of entry. What to do? First, it’s important to understand that green card renewal from outside the U.S. is not an option. You’ll need to be physically inside the United States to renew a green card.

However, there are solutions to get you home. Although green card renewal from outside the U.S. is not possible, there are various ways to return to the United States after temporary travel abroad. Each depends on your specific situation. Continue reading

Top 7 Green Card Renewal Questions

green card renewal questions form i-90Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is used by permanent residents to apply for the replacement or renewal of an existing Permanent Resident Card (green card).

Failing to keep an up-to-date green card can make it difficult to travel internationally or to prove your eligibility for employment in the United States. In fact, an expired green card creates four urgent problems.

Here are some of the most common questions and answers related to Form I-90 for green card renewal and replacement: Continue reading

I-751 Hardship Waiver after Divorce

hardship waiver after divorceConditional residents that obtained a two-year green card through marriage will typically file a joint petition using Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within the 90-day period before it expires. The conditional resident normally files jointly with the spouse. Once approved, USCIS grants the conditional resident status as a lawful permanent resident and provides a 10-year green card. But what if the conditional resident gets a divorce or annulment before the two-year period ends? Or what happens if the spouse is abusive and refuses to file the joint petition? The hardship waiver after divorce provides a solution to this difficult situation. Continue reading