Green Card Application Do's and Don'ts
To DO when applying for a green card:
- DO follow instructions on the USCIS forms completely and exactly. Failure to fill out all the information requested on the forms could result in a denied application or costly delays in processing
- DO be sure to submit any additional documents that are required along with the forms. USCIS will generally not process applications if documents are missing. Also, provide translations for the information if necessary
- DO ask for an interpreter if you need one. Many immigration offices provide interpreters for you. If you are unsure, you may bring your own interpreter when necessary
- DO follow instructions regarding photograph requirements. Again, your application could be delayed if your photographs do not meet specifications
- DO make sure your own questions are addressed and answered. You can always call the USCIS office or visit them in person if you have any inquiries. Also, the USCIS provides much information at their online website
- DO hire an attorney if you have a prior criminal record, have been deported or have been denied entry to the U.S. Inform your immigration attorney if you have overstayed your visa or have entered the country illegally
- DO disclose to your attorney any information about previous misrepresentations made on a green card application, or any other misrepresentations such as those regarding housing or employment. Your lawyer cannot provide you with proper advice if they are not fully aware of your entire situation. They will keep your information private according to confidentiality laws
What NOT to do when applying for a green card:
- DON’T break the law or commit any crimes. This is the surest way to have your application denied. Also, you risk facing deportation for some crimes
- DON’T leave the U.S. for extended periods of time. Limit your travel outside the U.S. to periods of less than one year. You should not create the impression that you do not wish to live in the U.S. even if you have already obtained a green card
- DON’T falsify information on forms or during communications to immigration officers
- DON’T participate in politically questionable activities. This can even include wearing clothing with politically charged messages to an immigration interview
- DON’T leave any of your forms blank. State “N/A” or not applicable when necessary, and supply all information as completely as possible
- DON’T charge people for legal advice if you are unlicensed, or engage in any other activities that require a license. It is illegal to practice certain professions without a valid license.
- DON’T open any envelopes containing medical exam results or other confidential information. If you wish to view such information, request for an additional copy other than the one you will be submitting to USCIS
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Last Modified: 01-13-2011 10:50 AM PST
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