Category Archives: USCIS

Immigration Insider articles in this category include news and information about U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

Step-by-Step Form I-485 Instructions

Intending immigrants who want to prepare Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, face a challenge. The Form I-485 instructions can be extraordinarily intimidating. After all, there are 42 pages of instructions for the green card application. What’s more, other forms are typically filed concurrently as a part of the adjustment of status package. In some cases, an innocent mistake can result in significant delays, long-term immigration problems, or even an I-485 denial.

The consequences of deviating from the I-485 instructions can be significant. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a policy memo that provides guidance to USCIS officers who make decisions about your adjustment of status application. Continue reading

How to Find an Immigration Lawyer

find an immigration lawyerThe U.S. immigration system can be overwhelming. CitizenPath is the leading online service for helping you prepare USCIS forms. Our service was created by lawyers, but we are not a legal service. For individuals with more complicated cases, including applicants with a criminal history or immigration violations, we recommend the help of an immigration lawyer. And we want to help you find an immigration lawyer.

You deserve a good lawyer. While the most experienced lawyers tend to be more expensive, there are plenty of skilled immigration lawyers if you know how to find them. Regardless if you’re working with a lawyer in private practice or non-profit, it’s important to find an immigration lawyer that is experienced and can help you navigate the complexity of your case. Continue reading

I-751 Waiver After Divorce: Filing without the Ex

i-751 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, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 I-751 waiver after divorce provides a solution to this difficult situation. Continue reading

What Happens at an Immigration Medical Exam

Immigration Medical Exam and form I-693An immigration medical exam is a necessary part of immigrating to the United States and becoming a permanent resident (green card holder). Sometimes called a green card medical exam, the appointment is a routine part of the process to ensure public safety and remove the grounds for inadmissibility for intending immigrants.

Certain diseases of public health significance make an individual inadmissible to the United States. The exam is the process to remove these grounds of inadmissibility. Continue reading

USCIS Lost My Application

uscis lost my applicationUnfortunately, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no different than any other massive government organization – they are heavily burdened with a large workload and aren’t the most efficient organization. In fact, several agencies make up the overall immigration system. Consular offices, Department of State and the National Visa Center all play a role. Over 6 million forms are filed with USCIS each year alone. Even if you’ve used our tips for preparing USCIS forms, it’s not uncommon for these agencies to lose parts of your application package or even the whole thing. But there are some preventive measures so that you don’t have to call us to say, “USCIS lost my application!” Continue reading

The New 90-Day Rule and Adjusting Status

How the new 90-day rule (and elimination of the 30/60 day rule) may affect your adjustment of status to permanent resident

90-Day Rule When Adjusting StatusIn September 2017, the U.S. Department of State made a significant change to its Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). This had a dramatic effect on the way immigration officers evaluate inadmissibility in certain cases. And it may affect future applications for adjustment of status. The change essentially eliminated the 30/60 day rule and established a stricter standard now known as the 90-day rule.

Any nonimmigrant visa holder should be aware of this amendment because it may affect how immigration officials perceive attempts to change status. Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not declared an intent to use the 90-day rule also, they previously used the 30/60 day rule as a guideline. Therefore, nonimmigrant visa holders attempting to obtain a green card through adjustment of status should be aware of the 90-day rule. Continue reading

Permanent Resident Card Renewal Instructions

The permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card, is proof that its holder is a lawful permanent resident who has been granted immigration benefits, which include permission to live and accept employment in the United States. Permanent resident card renewal is a necessary part of being a permanent resident. If your card expires, you do not surrender these rights. You continue to be a permanent resident. However, traveling abroad or even getting a job can be extremely difficult without a permanent resident card. There are several problems associated with an expired permanent resident card.

Step 1: Preparing for Permanent Resident Card Renewal

permanent resident card renewal

You may apply for permanent resident card renewal up to six months before your card expires. It will take a few months to receive your new green card, so USCIS recommends that you renew your green card as early as possible. Use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to renew your permanent resident card. Continue reading

Tips for Preparing USCIS Immigration Forms

tips for preparing USCIS immigration formsAre you getting ready to prepare an immigration form for you or a relative? In most cases you can do it by yourself without the aid of an immigration lawyer. But an inaccurate or carelessly answered question can delay an application or result in a denial. Likewise, a poorly prepared application packet can cause unnecessary delays and trigger additional questions. In fact, simple mistakes when preparing USCIS immigration forms can potentially tarnish the person’s immigration record forever.

In the fiscal year 2014, nearly 8% of the 7.7 million applications filed at USCIS lockbox facilities were rejected. That’s well over 600,000 applications rejected! Here are some helpful tips for preparing USCIS immigration applications and petitions: Continue reading

What is Form I-797 Notice of Action?

Form I-797 Notice of Action LetterIf you recently received a Form I-797 Notice of Action from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it’s simply a “form” of communication. USCIS uses form numbers to identify various documents.

You may be familiar with applications from USCIS that have a form number. But even documents such as a green card have an official form number (Form I-551).

USCIS uses several different types of Form I-797 to communicate with customers or convey an immigration benefit. It has many different purposes. Form I-797 is not a form you can fill out. Nonetheless, Form I-797, Notice of Action, may communicate very important information about your case. Continue reading

How to Get a Copy of Your Immigration File

Getting an Immigration FileThe Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to obtain copies of the records and documents in your alien file (immigration file). As a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may also request the immigration records of other people (provided that person consents to the search).

You may obtain specific specific documents inside your records or even a complete copy of your entire immigration file. Continue reading