Category Archives: USCIS

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

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-797C, Notice of Action, within approximately 1-3 weeks. (It may take longer to receive the I-797C for some other forms like Form I-751.) The I-797C, Notice of Action, is commonly known as a receipt letter.

For applicants who have incorrectly filed or included the wrong payment, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has rejected your case. You will need to refile. If you’ve prepared the form correctly and followed the USCIS directions carefully, the receipt letter will indicate that USCIS has accepted your case. 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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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 documents inside your records or even a complete copy of your entire immigration file. Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Form N-400 Gets Denied

form n-400 denied uscisU.S. citizenship is perhaps the greatest benefit any immigrant can receive. It is often the pinnacle of a long journey over many years and many miles. Over 2.2 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 261,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. In fact, the number of denials increased in every quarter of fiscal year 2018 under the Trump administration. There are many reasons for this. We’ve compiled a list of the five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

Top 7 Green Card Renewal Questions

green card renewal questionsPermanent residents use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to apply for the replacement or renewal of an existing Permanent Resident Card (green card). If you’re not familiar with the application, you may have one of many green card renewal questions.

That’s why many permanent residents use CitizenPath to prepare Form I-90. The low-cost, do-it-yourself software was designed by immigration attorneys to make the application easy and help applicants avoid mistakes. Customer support is also available to answer many of your green card renewal questions. Get started for free. Only pay if you’re eligible. Try it now >>

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. Continue reading

How to Get Status Updates from USCIS

how to get status updates from uscisOnce you’ve filed your application or petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you probably want to get status updates. Processing of immigration forms and applications can take several months, and USCIS isn’t the most accessible customer service organization.

There are things you can do to minimize the wait and get regular status updates. Properly preparing your form and filing with the correct supporting documents is the best thing that you can do to ensure a short wait. Many people use CitizenPath to prepare USCIS forms because we make it easy and eliminate the problems that can delay your application or petition. We even guarantee that USCIS will accept your application or petition. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we (or anyone) can do to expedite your application or petition with USCIS once it has been submitted.

Here’s what you can do to get the best status updates from USCIS. Continue reading

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