History of the Green Card

history of the green card
The green card, which only until 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

Form G-1450 and How to Use It With Your Application for U.S. Citizenship

Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card TransactionsForm G-1450 has come to the rescue of permanent residents that want to pay their naturalization fees with a credit card. Generally, filers of immigration forms must pay their fees with a check or money order. But when the USCIS fees are large, this pre-payment of services can be burdensome. More recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began allowing naturalization applicants to pay their fees with a credit card. The application for U.S. citizenship comes with a one-time fee that must be paid in full at the time of filing. By submitting Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, an applicant can now pay this fee with a credit card.

USCIS fees have been a barrier to U.S. citizenship for many permanent residents. Form G-1450 makes U.S. citizenship more affordable for permanent residents. By paying the one-time fee with a credit card, applicants are able to pay it off as they are able. 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

Filling Out the Application for U.S. Citizenship

Filling Out the Application for U.S. CitizenshipWith 20 pages of questions (and another 18 pages of instructions), filling out the application for U.S. citizenship can be intimidating for many applicants.

Officially known as Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, the majority of applicants can prepare the application without extensive help from an attorney. If you have a straight forward case, you can probably do it yourself.

If you’re ready to tackle the application for U.S. citizenship by yourself, go to the website for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at www.uscis.gov/n-400/ to download Form N-400 and the filing instructions.

If you want some extra support and the reassurance that you’re doing everything correctly, CitizenPath.com provides a low-cost, online service to help you fill out the application for U.S. citizenship. It’s free to try, and costs hundreds less than a lawyer. You’ll get simple, step-by-step instructions for the application. When you complete the Form N-400, you’ll receive the neatly prepared official Form N-400 that’s ready to sign. You’ll also get some simplified filing instructions so you know what to include with your application and where to mail it. Try it now. 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

Obtaining a U.S. Visitor Visa with a Pending I-130 Petition

Get a visitor visa with a pending I-130 petitionThe process to obtain a family-based green card can be a long road. While some eligible relationships may only take a few months, other can take years. Naturally, it would be nice to visit family in the United States while waiting for the immigrant visa. Not so fast. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to obtain a tourist visa after signaling your intent to become a permanent resident.

It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible to obtain a visitor visa with a pending I-130 petition. Many people with pending immigrant visa petitions have successfully traveled to the United States on a B visitor visa or through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). In fact, Canadians can typically cross the border with ease with a visa or visa waiver. For others, it will be necessary to prove the trip will only be temporary. Continue reading