Many people are carrying an expired green card right now. Because you don’t use your card everyday, it’s easy for an expired card to go unnoticed. By law, permanent residents must carry a valid green card at all times. But in practice, this rarely happens and is rarely enforced by the U.S. government.
When a green card expires, it’s natural to procrastinate before renewing it. After all, the USCIS fee to renew or replace a green card is currently $540. That’s a lot of money for anyone. But an expired green card does have consequences that can be even more costly. Continue reading →
Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s new public charge rule was supposed to go into effect. It will not. Multiple federal judges have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s public charge rule change. If implemented, this controversial policy would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it seems like they might need public assistance. Critics see it an attempt to keep out immigrants who are poor or in need of help. But the rule imposes a new burden on even financially self-sufficient applicants. The policy requires most applicants to prepare an additional 18-page form in order to adjust status. This additional step would add to the difficultly and complexity of getting a green card. The court injunctions are a welcome reprieve for intending immigrants and their families. However, the measure may only be temporary. Continue reading →
When filing Form I-751 to remove the conditions on residence, the conditional permanent resident also needs to submit evidence that the relationship was entered in “good faith.” U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to confirm that the marriage was not entered into for the purposes of evading immigration laws. Much confusion surrounds the need to submit an I-751 affidavit.
These “letters of support” are statements written by people that know the couple and have first-hand knowledge of the relationship. The I-751 affidavit helps support other evidence that the couple submits to demonstrate that the marriage was entered in good faith and is a not a “sham” marriage. Continue reading →
It is becoming increasingly important to have proof of your
immigration status in the United States. Having immigration papers,
documentation or proof of your legal status is essential if you have contact
with law enforcement or immigration officials. In the current environment, even natural-born U.S. citizens can run into problems with identification. What’s more, immigration paperwork can be necessary to gain access to many government benefits, secure housing, obtaining driving privileges, just to name a few. Continue reading →
The Diversity Visa Program, better known as the green card lottery, is a United States lottery system that grants up to 55,000 foreign nationals the ability to apply for an immigrant visa number. Most people need a petitioner to make an immigrant visa available. Either a U.S. family member or employer must file a petition that eventually gives the beneficiary the path to a green card. The green card lottery makes immigrant visas available each year to randomly selected individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
About 20 million people enter the green card lottery each year in hopes of getting one of the 55,000 spots. To participate, applicants must Continue reading →
The naturalization process is the path through which a foreign national can voluntarily become a U.S. citizen. In order to begin the naturalization process, an applicant must first meet several requirements. Then, he or she must file an application for naturalization, attend an interview, and pass an English and a civics test.
Nearly 823,000 permanent residents filed an application to naturalize in the previous 12 months according to USCIS data. In fact, nearly a million people become naturalized U.S. citizens each year. Continue reading →
Several years ago, CitizenPath launched an an innovative, online service to help our customers prepare Form I-864, Affidavit of Support. The online service includes a calculator that helps make Form I-864 easy for anyone to prepare. This article explains how the service works and includes an Affidavit of Support sample created from the CitizenPath software.
Many immigration attorneys consider the Affidavit of Support to be one of the most difficult U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms to prepare. USCIS routinely rejects Form I-864 or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) as a result of incorrectly prepared Affidavits of Support. This is significant. That’s because the intending immigrant’s green card application will be denied if the I-864 does not meet the requirements. Continue reading →
As the name suggests, permanent residence implies that the green card holder will live permanently in the United States. But what if a unique opportunity arises to work or study outside the United States? Generally, a permanent resident is free to travel outside the United States, provided that the absence is temporary in nature. But employment and study opportunities abroad can be problematic. Studying or working abroad as a green card holder can lead to immigration problems.
When a permanent resident remains outside the United States for an extended period, it can lead to suspicion that he or she has abandoned residence in the U.S. But time abroad isn’t the only factor to consider. Continue reading →
In the current environment, individuals who appear foreign-born are increasingly being asked for proof of status. Even U.S. citizens and permanent residents are at risk of detention if they don’t have identification. In fact, permanent residents are required by law to carry valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status. Permanent residents with an expired (or expiring within six months) card, should generally submit a green card renewal application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible.
If you’ve been a permanent resident for at least five years (or a permanent resident while married to a U.S. citizen for the last three years), you may be able to skip the green card renewal application Continue reading →
After 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. Continue reading →