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Green Card Application Do's and Don'ts

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What Are Some Things to Keep in Mind When Applying for a Green Card?

Obtaining a green card is an important step towards becoming a U.S. citizen. A green card indicates that an individual is a Lawful Permanent Resident, and can live and work in the U.S.

Instructions for submitting a green card application are provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the process can sometimes be complicated. Below is a handful of things to keep in mind when going through the process.

What to Do When Applying for a Green Card:

  • 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.
  • Submit any and all additional documents that are required along with the forms. USCIS will generally not process applications if documents are missing.
  • Ask for an interpreter if one is needed. Many immigration offices provide interpreters, but, just to be safe, bring one if one will be needed.
  • Follow instructions regarding photograph requirements. Applications could be delayed they do not meet these specifications.
  • Ask questions.
  • Hire an attorney. This is essential to do if an applicant:
  • Disclose to the attorney any information about:
    • Previous misrepresentations made on a green card application. Failing to do so may result in being accused of green card fraud.
    • Any other misrepresentations such as those regarding housing or employment.

What Not to Do When Applying for a Green Card:

  • Break the law. This is the surest way to have an application denied. Moreover, some crimes are grounds for deportation.
  • Leave the U.S. Limiting travel outside the U.S. to periods of less than one year.
  • Falsify information on forms or during communications to immigration officers
  • Leave forms blank. Best practice is to state “N/A” or not applicable when necessary, and supply all information as completely as possible
  • Charge people for legal advice or engage in any other activities that require a license. It is illegal to practice certain professions without a valid license. 

Most Importantly: Hire a Lawyer

To reiterate, the most important thing to consider is hiring an immigration lawyer. Your attorney can help you prepare the necessary documents and review them before they are filed.
Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 09-29-2016 03:43 PM PDT

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