Immigration Forms

Immigration forms

Although the basic definition of a US immigration form might seem obvious, the different kinds and procedures can be a bit confusing. This is true for anyone, let alone people who have had very little experience with American immigration rules.

In this article, we’ll look at exactly what we mean by immigration form, some basic information on filling them out, and some of the most common forms immigrants will come across.

What are Immigration Forms ?

Simply put, an immigration form is a document filled in by someone who isn’t a US citizen in relation to living or traveling in the US. Depending on the type of immigration form, it could cover anything from work permits and Green Cards to temporary visas and requests for asylum.

The US has codes for all its official forms. Helpfully, immigration forms start with the letter I, which should help you tell whether you’re dealing with one. If you’re looking to move to the United States and you’re not a US citizen, you’ll have to fill it at least one.

Common Types of Immigration Forms

Unsurprisingly, USCIS has a form for literally any kind of immigration query you could imagine. As such, finding the correct one for your needs can be a bit overwhelming. Below is a list of some of the more common immigration forms that people fill in when moving or traveling to the United States.

Form I-485

Form I-485 is the Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status. In short, it’s the Green Card application form. So, anyone who wants to move to the US permanently, whether for work or family reasons, must complete this form.

Form I-90

Form I-90 is the Green Card replacement form. Although your permanent resident status never expires, the Green Card itself does. It lasts for 10 years, after which point you’ll need a new one. This form is also used if you lose your Green Card.

Form I-129

The Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker form covers all temporary worker visas, such as H-1 and H-2, O-visas, P-visas, and more. Completing this immigration form is the first step to receiving a work visa for the United States. Like other nonimmigrant visas, this process is done before you enter the country.

Form I-130

Form I-130 is the Petition for Alien Relative. It’s the form US citizens or permanent residents use to confirm their relationship to an eligible relative. For example, if you were a Green Card holder and you wanted your children to come live with you, you’d fill in Form I-130.

Form I-140

This immigration form is used to convert a temporary work visa into a Green Card. However, it doesn’t apply to all work visas. Instead, it’s only for E-visas, which relate to people with extraordinary abilities or skills.

Form I-601

Form I-601 is an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. In short, you’d file it alongside your main immigration form if you were inadmissible for any reason. Being inadmissible essentially means you don’t meet the criteria for immigration for some reason, such as criminal convictions or fraudulent entry. Form I-601 is used to explain why you should be allowed in the US.

Immigration Form Procedure

You can complete an immigration form both from within the United States and your home country. For example, in the US, you might want to file an application for adjustment of status. In your home country, however, you’d file things like visa applications. You’d do this with your nation’s US embassy or consulate.

It is important to mention that some of the immigration forms can become quite complex. If you are uncertain about being able to complete the form correctly then it’s worth getting help from someone who is familiar with the procedure. Of course, you should ensure they’re reputable and qualified. So, an immigration lawyer would be a good option.

Regardless of how complex the actual immigration form is, they all follow the same basic procedure:

Submitting the Immigration Forms

After completing your immigration form and gathering all the correct evidence, you must first submit it. As mentioned, this would either be direct to USCIS or to your country’s American embassy or consulate.

Generally, you can submit most forms physically, either in the mail or hand delivered. This is because you need to sign them and attach copies of things like your passport or ID. There is also a fee associated with submission, and this varies depending on the form.

Application Receipt

Once your immigration form is submitted, you must wait to receive an Application Receipt Notice. The receipt contains a number that acknowledges USCIS has received your immigration form. You must retain this number since it will be used in the future to check your application status.

Processing Time

If you retain your receipt number you can check the status of your application form on the USCIS website. The processing time will vary, and the system is prone to delays. As such, your application could take anywhere from a few months to a few years to complete. Having your receipt number will provide you with a better idea of your status. Without it, you will only be able to review approximate processing times on the USCIS website.

Similarly, anyone with access to your application number (and with your permission) can check the status of your form. This could include your lawyer or potential employer, or anyone else involved in your immigration case.

The Visa Interview at USCIS

Once you are notified that your immigration form has been processed, you will be scheduled for an interview with USCIS or American consulate in the country where you reside. You will be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for your immigration interview. During the interview, you’ll be asked questions related to the information on your immigration form along with other details about your case.

Final Thoughts

We recommend that you apply for the Green Card Lottery even if you are waiting for a decision from the Immigration office. Applying for a Green Card through the Green Card Lottery does not affect any other applications you may have filled. Importantly, it gives you another route into the country and, while it still requires an immigration form, it’s less complex than other kinds.

Get in touch with US Green Card Office for help on your Green Card Lottery application.

Sharing is caring - please share with your friends.