Foreign nationals will be the first to agree with the statement that filing any immigration-related application can be a headache. The U.S. government requires multiple forms, supporting documents, duplicates of these materials, fees, and many other types of evidence in order to grant immigration benefits. Applying for a green card (which is officially called Legal Permanent Resident) with form I-485 is no different.
Mistakes on immigration applications can be expensive – depending on the mistake, the applicant may lose the money paid to the U.S. government and will need to start the process all over again. Additionally, mistakes on applications can also affect the foreign national’s actual immigration status which may result in deportation or other serious consequences.
The following list provides some of the most common errors that foreign nationals make when completing their green card applications and demonstrates why it is often a good idea to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney during this process.
Mistake #1 – Filing Fees
The U.S. government requires a filing fee, made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” to be included with the I-485 Application. Currently, the fee is $985.00 plus possibly an additional $85.00 for a total of $1,070 but the government can change the fee amount if it wants to. Because of this, many applicants send the wrong amount or forget to send the fee at all. If this happens, the U.S. government will return to the application to the foreign national who will then need to correct the mistake and resend the application.
Mistake #2 – Medical Examination
Before submitting the I-485 Application, the foreign national must undergo a medical examination conducted by a designated civil surgeon (you can find a list of designated surgeons located in your area at http://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/immigration-medical-examinations/finding-medical-doctor).
Some foreign nationals forget to obtain the medical exam. Or, some open the sealed enveloped just to make sure the civil surgeon completed the form. However, if the foreign national opens the envelope, the government will reject the application and require the person to obtain another medical exam.
Mistake #3 – Unsigned Forms
The I-485 Application requires a Form I-485 and a Form G-325 (and if the foreign national is also applying for work and/or travel authorization, the Form I-765 and the Form I-131 are also required). These forms must be signed for the government will reject the application. (You’d be surprised how many times people forget to sign forms!)
Mistake #4– Incomplete Forms
The aforementioned necessary forms actually require a lot of the same information. Each form requires the foreign national’s name, date of birth, country of birth, etc. Even though it may seem repetitive and tiring, the forms must be completed in their entirety before sending the application to the U.S. government.
Mistake #5 – Factual Errors
It is of the utmost importance that the information provided on the Form I-485 (and all immigration applications) is true. There is very little room for mistakes on the form because in signing it, the foreign national is attesting to the U.S. government that the information is accurate. Now, everyone makes mistakes and typos, and sometimes these mistakes can be corrected. However, intentionally putting false information on the application (such as stating you have never been arrested when you in fact were arrested) will have very serious consequences.
As can be seen, mistakes on green card applications can seriously affect or delay the foreign national’s ability to receive U.S. permanent residence. Working with a skilled immigration attorney can be an invaluable tool in ensuring that your application is prepared both correctly and quickly. Contact our office today to speak to us about your case. We look forward to working with you!