As always, our advice is to be very careful before filing any immigration application with the USCIS by making sure that you are eligible and understand the process, procedures and timing involved in your particular type of immigration case.
Once that is done, you need to make sure that your application is properly prepared and filed to prevent rejection.
Here’s few tips for those who have waited until the last moment to file:
1) Make Sure You Complete The Correct Forms: You must ensure that you have the most current edition of each immigration form before submitting. Note that on August 25th, the new USCIS form I-765 for work authorization edition 08/25/20 (see bottom left corner) was released and no other edition will be accepted. Applications filed with the old outdated edition will be rejected. Never pay for forms, they are free. To download the current edition of each form, go to www.USCIS.gov and click on the Forms link, then choose your form.
2) Supporting Documents: Make sure and include all required documents so your case is not delayed. Read the Form Instructions and enclose copies of the required supporting documents listed. Never send originals. Due to the approaching deadline, you can just file your applications now and the USCIS will issue a request for evidence (RFE) later in case you don’t have time to submit important documents like financials to support the affidavit of support, etc. Just understand that any missing documents will delay your case and result in the late issuance of your work and travel permit.
3) Foreign Language Documents: All documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by an English translation and “Certificate of Translation” signed by the translator, attesting to the fact that they are fluent in the foreign language and English. If you don’t have time to get the translation done before filing in order to meet the deadline this week don’t worry, the USCIS will issue a request for evidence (RFE) later.
4) Medical Exams: Due to the approaching deadline, you can just file your applications now and the USCIS will issue a request for evidence (RFE) later.
5) Public Charge Form I-944 and Supporting Documents: Due to the approaching deadline, you can just file your applications now and the USCIS will issue a request for evidence (RFE) later.
6) Copies: Keep copies of every page of your signed application, all supporting documents and check/money order for your records.
7) Filing Fees: Make sure the USCIS filing fee is correct. Go online to www.USCIS.gov and click on the Forms link to see the current filing fee for each form. Pay particular attention to applications which require biometrics fees in addition to the regular filing fees. You can pay your fees by regular personal check, Cashier’s Check, Money Orders, Credit Cards, Debit Cards and even Gift Cards. If using a card, you will need to download and complete form G-1450. However, be very careful about making sure that you have enough funds in the card for the filing fees and fill out a separate G-1450 form for the filing fee for each separate form. For instance, if your residency application is based upon marriage, you’ll need to fill out a form G-1450 for the form I-485 for $1,225 and a separate one for form I-130 $535. You can get link to the list of fees for all the forms by visiting our website at: www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link.
8) Sending your application before the deadline: The safest route right now is Fed-ex or UPS, since due to the recent delays by the U.S. Postal Service, it might be risky to use right now. Make sure and do next day or second day. Note that you must use the street address for the USCIS service center, NOT the P.O. Box. Be sure to get delivery confirmation a few days after you send your application, to confirm it was received and save the confirmation for your records. Deadline to send should be no later than September 30th, for NEXT DAY DELIVERY using Fed-ex or UPS, although its never good to wait until the last minute!
9) Sign-up for E-Notification: Always file Form G-1145 with your application (put it on top of your forms), to receive a text message or email e-notification confirming that the application was received and accepted for processing by the USCIS along with the case receipt number(s).
10) Sign-up for E-Mail Case Updates: Once you receive your USCIS Receipt (called I-797 Notice of Action) – usually in about 10 days, go online to www.USCIS.gov and click on “Check your case status” then sign-up for email updates on your case using your case number.
11) Check USCIS Processing Times: Go to www.USCIS.gov and click on “Check your case status” then scroll down and click on “USCIS Processing Times Information” and click on the Service Center or office where your case is processing to see the current processing times for your application type.
Get a link to view the new USCIS forms and current filing fees, by visiting our website at www.Immigratetoday.com and clicking on the Immigration Newsletter link in the upper left hand corner or by visiting our enewsletter site at: www.americanimmigrationcentral.com
** Contributions to this Column are made by Attorney Caroly Pedersen, Esq. of the American Immigration Law Center