Category Archives: USCIS

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

U.S. Citizenship Application Checklist Helps You Get Ready for Naturalization

us citizenship application checklistThe U.S. citizenship application, officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, is the longest and most complex USCIS form that most people will ever use. However, with preparation, you can complete the application on your own. We want to make sure you’re ready. There are several pieces of information that you’ll need available to prepare the application. When them at your side, filling out the U.S. citizenship application can actually be a quick process. That’s why we’ve put together a downloadable U.S. citizenship application checklist. Continue reading

USCIS Fee Increases Effective December 23rd

uscis fee increasesEffective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees that must be submitted with the majority of its immigration forms. The USCIS fee increases, which were finalized in an announcement yesterday, can be found in a final rule published in the Federal Register. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include these new fees or USCIS will reject your submission.

During the early summer of 2016, USCIS announced fee increases would be coming. The USCIS fee increases became official yesterday. Fees increased by a weighted average of 21 percent for many forms. While fees for some forms increased only modestly, fees for other forms such as Form N-600 ballooned by 95 percent. 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 over 600,000 applications rejected! Here are some helpful tips for preparing USCIS immigration applications and petitions: 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

What is Form G-325A, Biographic Information?

What is Form G-325AForm G-325A, Biographic Information, is generally used with green card applications and provides U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with necessary information needed to make a decision on each case.

Any time a visa petition or adjustment of status application is filed, an extensive background check must be performed by USCIS to look into the past residences, employment, and family ties for the immigrant applicant and the U.S. petitioner.

Form G-325A is their way of supplementing other applications to collect this background information. It’s important that the information you provide on Form G-325A is truthful, accurate and consistent. If not, the worst cases can include denied applications or even long-term immigration issues. Continue reading

3 Reasons Not to Enter Green Card Lottery

reasons not to enter green card lotteryThe Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, better known as the green card lottery, makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

In most cases, the green card lottery is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a permanent resident of the United States. But in other cases, there are reasons not to enter the green card lottery. Reasons to reconsider before applying to the green card lottery include: Continue reading

5 Common Reasons Form N-400 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 2.3 million permanent residents have naturalized as U.S. citizens in the past three years.

However, during the same period, over 224,000 permanent residents had their Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, denied. There are many reasons for this — so we took a look and found five common reasons for a continuation or denial of a Form N-400 application. Continue reading

USCIS Receipt Number Explained

USCIS Receipt Numbers ExplainedAfter 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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Consular Processing vs Adjustment of Status

immigrant visa through consular processing or adjustment of statusThere are two basic paths for acquiring a family-based immigrant visa and obtaining permanent residence (green card) in the United States: consular processing and adjustment of status.

Each has it’s own advantages. Before your relative attempts to obtain an immigrant visa (green card) in the United States, it is important to understand the basics of consular processing and adjustment of status.

Immigrant Petitions

Before an immigrant can use consular processing or adjustment of status, he or she must have an approved immigrant visa number. The process begins with a petition. For employment-based cases, the employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. For family-based cases, the process begins with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for a family member. Continue reading

Green Card Renewal Fee Keeps Climbing

green card renewal fee increaseLess than 20 years ago, the green card renewal fee was only $75. In just a few years, the cost has risen to $365 plus the $85 biometrics fee. That’s almost five times the cost!

Critics argue that the USCIS user fee-based system places disproportionate hardship on immigrants. For example, it can cost a family of four $1800 to renew their green cards (filing fees plus biometrics). There is no discount for additional family members.

Permanent residents (18 years and older) are required to carry a valid green card by law. But many are choosing not to renew green cards or replace lost/stolen cards because of the high cost. This creates a difficult dilemma for job seekers. Continue reading