Category Archives: USCIS

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

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

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

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 Form I-90 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. 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

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

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