5 ways to help you make sure your US immigration documents are saved correctly.
1. Prepare for paperwork beyond forms of government
Every immigration process requires at least one form of government. But what many people don’t know is that you are often required to submit a number of other documents called “pieces of evidence.”
Evidence supports documentation that shows something else about you such as: utility bills, proof that you have a U.S. address, a marriage certificate showing that your marriage is legitimate, a record of arrival or of departure to the USA that shows that you have legally entered the country, etc.
When you are preparing to file an immigration application, be sure to include all necessary supporting documentation. It’s a good idea to have a checklist specific to your situation so you don’t miss a thing.
Important note! Plan to send copies of your documents to USCIS and keep the originals with you. Only rarely does USCIS require original documents to be submitted.
2. Translate foreign documents
USCIS requires that all documents be in English. If you are required to submit official non-English documents – such as a foreign birth certificate – you must include translations.
Translations have to be certified. “Certified” means that the translator promises that: (1) the translation is complete and correct; and (2) that he or she is able to translate that foreign language into English. This promise must be made in writing and signed.
The certification must include the date, signature and address of the translator. It could be something like this:
I [written name] certify that I am fluent in English and (languages), and that the above / attached document is an exact translation of the original attached document titled ______________________________.
Date Written name
You must submit the certification, a copy of the original document and the translation with your immigration application.
3. Don’t forget to sign your application
Applications that are not signed are rejected immediately. Unsigned applications are one of the main reasons for rejection year after year.
It is important to note that a “rejection” is not a “denial”. When an application is rejected, it is returned to you with your money. In the event of a denial, you will have to resubmit the completed application, including fees.
With a refusal, you can correct your mistake, but now you have wasted your time and lengthened your immigration process.
4. Make sure you send the correct rate
Like a forgotten signature, applications with the wrong fee amount are rejected immediately. Be sure to verify that you are paying the correct fee amount and keep proof of your payment (such as a copy of the check) for your records.
The filing fees are indicated in the application instructions near the end.
Important note! USCIS only accepts payment in the form of a check from a US institution. USCIS does not accept cash or checks issued by foreign banks.
5. Apply before your current immigration status expires
If you are applying to renew or extend your immigration benefit, be sure to apply before your current status expires.
Immigration applications sometimes take months or even years to process. Loss of your status, while your application is pending, could result in you not having legal status for a period of time. It is illegal to live in the U.S. without a valid immigration status and the more time passes, the more penalties there are.
You could be forced out of the US And, depending on how long you stayed in the country without immigration status, you could be forced to stay out of the country for three years or more.