Filing Immigration Forms
To get a legal immigration status in the US, a foreign national has to file certain immigration forms with the US consulate abroad or with the USCIS if he/she is in the US. If in the US, all petitions/applications have to be filed with the USCIS. All the forms can be downloaded and are in PDF format. To view, print, or fill out these forms, you will need the latest version of Adobe Reader which can be downloaded for free.
It is very important to note that applications/petitions that are incomplete and contain erroneous information will be rejected. To make sure you complete and submit your application correctly, make sure you carefully read any notices, warnings, or explanations on the Forms Entry Page (FEP) in the official govt website www.uscis.gov before you print (or download) the form, complete it and send it to USCIS. Making sure you verify the filing location of the forms for the specific benefit you are seeking is extremely vital as there are different filing locations across the country.
All the immigration (“I”) or naturalization (“N”) forms come with detailed instructions which will have information about the supporting documents needed, the submission fees and where to file. Instructions will differ with specific circumstances. Filing the immigration forms with the appropriate office or with the correct fee should be a high priority as failure to do so might result in an application or petition being returned to you and will also result in further delay in processing. Do not mail your application or petition to the “HQPDI” address, (that address is for submitting comments on the form itself.)
Immigration Forms Fee and Fee Waivers
Most immigration forms have to be accompanied with a submission fee when filed. If you fail to include your payment of all required fees, including any fingerprint fees when you submit your application, the application will be returned to you. Checks should be made payable to “Department of Homeland Security”. USCIS will subsequently notify you of the time and place for biometrics.
Certain applicants who are not able to pay the fee may apply for and be granted a fee waiver while filing certain immigration forms. To claim a waiver, you have to file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver. The USCIS adopts a particular methodology to arrive at a decision on waiver requests. The instructions page that come with Form I-912 will have detailed information on the whether the request should be submitted through Form I-912 or through a written statement by the applicant.
The USCIS methodology generally consists of determining whether the applicant is receiving a means-tested benefit, or reviewing the applicant’s household income level and/or recent financial hardship that makes the applicant eligible for the fee waiver.
Forms are in such a format that it will allow you to fill them out on your computer, print them out, and mail it to the USCIS Application Service Center (ASC) in order to file for a benefit. Some forms that are rather large files can be downloaded directly to your local computer, instead of filling them out through your web browser. Ensure you use the latest version of Adobe Reader. While filing an immigration form, you are most likely required to submit photographs. The specifications for photographs can be found in the form instructions page.